ID MT WA forest fires, Aug 1910


Search Is in Vain for Missing Men.


Weigle Gives Up Hope for ex-Football Star and Crew.


Reports at Wallace and Missoula Differ, but in Idaho Town It Is Sain 81 Men Are With Missing Ranger in St. Joe.

SPOKANE, Wash., Aug. 25. - If the stories of men who returned today from the St. Joe country of Idaho are to be believed, the loss of life along Big Creek, a tributary of the St. Joe River, was appalling and the dead in Idaho alone will number more than 300, even if Ranger Joseph B. Halm and his men turn up, of which the forest office in Wallace is not hopeful.

Following is a revised list of th number killed in the Idaho, Montana and Washington forest fires last Saturday and Sunday:

United States forestry employes, Idaho and Montana, 100.
Settlers and firefighters, St. Joe Valley, Idaho, 50.
At Newport, Wash., 8.
At Wallace, Idaho, 4.
At Mullan and Spokane, 3.
Total, 160.

The Missoula forest office's list of 79 dead forest employes omits 21 killed at the Bullion mine, Montana, and on the Big Fork of the Coeur d'Alene.

Missing: Negro soldiers, near Avery, 4; Ranger Haim's party, headwaters of St. Joe, 15.
Forest employes in St. Joe Valey, 25.

Reports Do Not Agree.

Reports received today by Supervisor Weigle at Wallace concerning the number of dead forest employes do not agree with that obtained at Missoula. The reports to Wallace say that of Ranger Hollingsbead's 60 men on Big Creek, 14 bodies have been found and the other men are missing. Of 60 men on Setzer Creek, 48 bodies have been found and five men are missing. These 62 deaths of forest employes, added to the 21 deaths at the Bullion mine and on the big fork of the Coeur d'Alene and the deaths in Montana and various Idaho creeks, would bring the total number of deaths in the service up to 100.

Dearth of News Prevails.

There is a dearth of news from the St. Joe Valley, where the fires are raging uncontrolled. Cicrumstantial accounts of the death of 115 men in four parties were brought to Spokane and Tekoa today by survivors. The survivors say that 600 men were working on Big Creek, whereas the number givien by the forest service to have been employed there is 60. Joseph B. Haim is said by the Wallace office to have 84 men with him, and by the Missoula office to have only 14.

Deputy Ranger Fisher's relief party attempting to reach Haim by way of Avery, was forced to turn back and Fisher will reconnoiter tommorow from Saltese, Mont. Fisher is advised that Missoula is organizing a relief expedition for Haim via Iron Mountain via a route a little different from that tried by Ranger Haines.

Supervisor Weigle has given up hope of the safety of Ranger Joseph B. Haim, the ex-football star and athlete of Washington State College, who, with 84 men, was in the thick of the fight on the headwaters of the St. Joe River last Saturday.

Ranger Kottkey's crew of 200 are all now reported safe.

It should be understood that the loss of life in the fire country took place last Saturday and Sunday, when a gale fanned smoldering coals into great fires and drove flames through the mountains with the speed of express trains, giving defeated fire fighters no chance to flee for their lives. The weather today is calm and cool, and the fire, even if left to itself, is traveling slowly.

All estimates of the loss place it at more than $20,000,000, mostly in timber.

None of the towns in Idaho and Montana is in danger, and in fact the critical period of the fire is past. What remains to be done now is to seek out the missing, to find and bury the dead, to feed and clothe the homeless.

Many are the heartrendering stories told by survivors of the great conflagration. Charles and Warren Weston, lumberjacks who were fighting fire on the Big Creek today, arrived in this city and told of seeing 20 Italian laborers caught in the fire's trap, praying, cursing, and running madly about while the flames licked out their lives. The Westons buried themselves in a shallow creek, under moistened blankets, and were unhurt when the fire passed. They called to the Italians, to join them but the fire intervened before the party had time.

As such stories are heard and the list of dead mounts up, this order has gone out to the fighters from the Forest Office: "Let the timber go rather than risk lives."

Fires are still burning in the Wallowa National forest, in Eastern Oregon. The Chaanimous fire is under control but the Snake River fire is not. Many cattle are reported burned to death. About 800 or 900 sheep were burned on the Minam River.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, OR 26 Aug 1910


Known Dead in Idaho Fire Are Being Booked Out of Missoula.

MISSOULA, Mont., Aug. 25. - Ranger Deblitt, who has been located at Avery, Idaho, advises the forestry headquarters here that at noon today 47 bodies had been recovered and of these 30 had been identified. An untold number of injured are being brought in from the burned forests to be treated in an improvised hospital on the ground.

The unidentified dead are being buried at Avery.

The following are the known dead who were booked out of Missoula:

Edward Miller, Frank Sanders, J. Hill, D. Carey, L. Schwartz, Oscar Weigart, Patrick Kelley.

The names of those whose booking place is unknown follow:

P. Groggan, L. Ustello, Frank Masteson, J. Rusick, George Queere, James Kerr, George Smith, Jack Hill, Frank D. Surck, James D. Kearney, Patrick Kelley, O. Bing, W. Poke, Harry Jackson, O. Ellifson, Edward Dunn, P.F. Dechant, M. Busion, Jim Donohue, Edward Murphy, W. Norton, L.S. Swartz, Frank Sketchell, James Riley, M. Nillo, William Casey.

Morning Oregonian, Portland, OR 26 Aug 1910