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Letter

Thank you for the articles on the Mann Gulch and Higgins Ridge forest fires and the trauma the firefighters went though.

I knew Friz Wolfrum when I jumped but, at that time, I did not know Bob Sallee. Later I became better acquainted with both men though the National Smokejumper Association. You never heard them talk about their experiences. It was almost an unwritten rule that you didn't mention near death events. Many have had them.

Bob never talked about Mann Gulch. Then, several years ago, a group of former jumpers took a trip down the Missouri River. At one of our camps we were enjoying our campfire when a group of teachers heard that Bob Sallee was in our group and asked to join us. They insisted on Bob telling his story. For several hours he went though everything he could remember. At the end there was silence and not a dry eye.

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All firefighters, who risk their lives, are to be honored for their efforts and kept safe.

Jim Hagemeier,

Missoula

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