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Local Staff Ride Archive

Stand 3 - The Overlook

After failing to control the fire through direct attack near Oleta Point, Fire Boss Ewing made a new plan in consultation with Lafferty. The plan consisted of:

  1. Control the head of the fire along Rattlesnake Ridge
  2. Construct line and burn where needed along Rattlesnake Ridge to the west to High Point (there was an existing old fuel break along Rattlesnake Ridge)
  3. Construct line and burn from High Point down a ridge in a northeasterly direction to a point on Alder Springs Road near Powder House Turn
  4. Use Alder Springs Road and burnout going west until meeting up with the burnout coming from Powder House turn

Although two attempts were made to construct line down to Alder Springs Road (Figure 1 - Points 22 & 23) neither were successful. At around 18:40 a handline was completed between High Point and Powder House Turn. Burning up the road from Oleta Point, and firing out from High Point down to Powder House Turn both began around 19:20. Casaurang with his crew, supported by tanker equipment, were bringing the burning operation up the road, while a crew was burning down from High Point was under the direction of Robert Werner. When burning operations began on the ridge winds were upslope, out of the east-southeast and the crew was having a tough time getting the brush to burn. Just prior to 20:00 "a local wind of wind of considerable turbulence developed for a brief period" caused 7 or 8 spot fires below Alder Springs Road near the old car (Figure 1 - Point 11), just west of this location. At 20:15 burning was suspended along Alder Springs Road in order to take action on the spot fires. It is at this time that Forest Supervisor Thomas discovered the Missionary Spot Fire across Powder House Canyon from the old car.

Click to see Fire Progression Map.

Click to see Investigation Report Figure 3.

Click to hear an excerpt from New Tribes Mission Crew Boss Paul Turner's interview.
(Requires a media player capable of playing MP3 audio. Click here to download the free Windows Media Player.)

Almost directly across from Stand 3 is the white cross that was placed in 1993 near the spot that the majority of the firefighters were overtaken by the fire.

Looking west from this location you can see the head of Powder House Canyon.

  A new memorial was dedicated in July 2005 at the Overlook. The monument portrays the 15 firefighters who died on the Rattlesnake Fire. In the background across the drainage, crosses can be seen at the location where the firefighters were overtaken by the fast moving fire.    

From this location you can see Powder House Canyon from top to bottom.