SPOKANE, Wash. – Robert Sallee, the last survivor of the Mann Gulch wildfire in Montana that killed 13 firefighters, has died.
Sallee, 82, died Monday from complications following open heart surgery. His death was confirmed by the Hazen & Jaeger Valley Funeral Home, which is handling arrangements.
Sallee was a 17-year-old smokejumper, youngest on the crew that parachuted to the 1949 wildfire in Montana's Helena National Forest. They were caught on a mountainside when the fire suddenly blew up, cutting off their escape route.
He later gave interviews to Norman Maclean for his book, "Young Men and Fire," and talked to many firefighting groups about the tragedy.