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Local Staff Ride Archive

Stand 4 - Post Point

Post received Clayton's note, but could not help. The Ranger withdrew up the hill to the timberline and safety. Bert Sullivan took the lead while Post and Tyrrell brought up the rear.

The "spot" fire consumed the fuels above Post's crew cutting off their escape to timberline, thus making Post Point the men's best chance for survival. Five men will panic and run downhill through the fire. Of these five, only one will survive. Post, Tyrrell and Sullivan made every attempt possible to keep the men in place, of the 37 who stay at Post Point, only 3 would perish.

Paul Tyrrell knocked down some of the panicked men and lay down on top of them as a human shield to protect them from the fire behavior. A few days later, Paul's severe burns take over his life; he passed away at 1300 on August 26, 1937.

The fire rushed uphill from the "spot" in two waves. The group on the ridge top tried to move around to avoid the flame fronts (see Map D), but there was little room on the ridge. One of the survivors was quoted as saying "Anywhere you moved, the flames and heat could get to you."

Fire behavior specialist A.A. Brown completed the fire behavior report for the Blackwater fire. Mr. Brown identified the following factors as key to the blowup:

  1. The ragged edge of the fire.
  2. Underburning of surface fuels that pre-heated the canopy crown.
  3. The heavy fuel model that the fire burned in - today's fuel model 10.
  4. Undetected spot fires.

Click to hear interview excepts from Johnny J Levine, Civilian Conservation Crewmember who helped fight the Blackwater Fire and was trapped at Post Point

Looking up the ridge at the approach to Post Point.

The view looking back down from Post Point. This is where the majority of firefighters were trapped by the firestorm.

The plaque for the Post Point memorial. This is at the location where the firefighters with Post sought refuge. This is the third memorial built by the CCCs in 1938.