Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Sundance Fire

“On September 1, 1967 the lightning-caused Sundance Fire made an unprecedented 6 mile wide, 28 mile long run from near the western base of Sundance Mountain (near Priest Lake) in just 8 hours. It ripped giant trees from the ground, created by its heat convection column equal to a Class-5 tornado, melted an iron girder bridge across Pack River, killed two firefighters, and left nearly 56,000 acres virtually sterilized for decades.” (Fire Lookout Museum, Spokane, Washington)

During August and September, the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Lands, Society of American Foresters and local historical museums in Priest Lake, Bonners Ferry, and Sandpoint hosted a series of events commemorating this catastrophic conflagration. Over 400 people attended indoor programs at Priest Lake and Bonners Ferry while 100 people met for a field trip at the site of the damaged bridge on Pack River. Each event allowed ample time for those involved with the fire a half century ago to share their story. In another event, family members gathered near the site of the fatalities for a private memorial observance in which a marker and interpretative sign was unveiled to remember the two fallen firefighters.