Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

By Zoie Koostra

Canyon Creek blaze leads to daring rescue by Lincoln-based packer


August 30, 2018

Byron Booney

Jerry Burns, Tom Leibscher, and Byron Bonney flew into the Middle Fork around Sept. 9, 1988 to search for the mules Burns turned loose before climbing Crow Peak to escape the fire Sept. 6, 1988.

"I took off and rode up the main line trail and into the Lander's Fork trail. That's where I hit the [Canyon Creek] fire. It was roaring pretty good then," said Jerry Burns recalling Sept. 6, 1988. "Some logs were burning in the trail and so I knew I had to keep going."

Burns was working as a mule packer for the Forest Service in Lincoln, Mont. during the summer of 1988. His actions saved two trail crew members from being overrun by the Canyon Creek fire that burned more than 200 square miles in a single night.

The morning of Sept. 6, the fire behavior specialist for the Canyon Creek fire w...

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