Mann Gulch, 1949
Credit: National Interagency Fire Center


The Place: Montana
The Underlying Cause: Likely a lightning storm
The Devastation: 4,339 acres burned, 13 smokejumpers killed
What Is Noteworthy about This Fire: The horrible loss of nearly an entire smokejumping team was likely the result of sudden high winds. Studies have estimated that the fire expanded suddenly, covering 3,000 acres in ten minutes and possibly jumping below the team when they were on the ground by way of rolling debris.