The Sundance Fire, a lightning caused wildfire of 55,910 acres, broke out on August 23 and burned through September, 1967. On the afternoon and evening of September 1, the wildfire made a historic run burning through the Pack River drainage in a matter of hours. The fire burned an area 6 miles wide and over 25 miles long, and its behavior and effects are still studied today.
Meanwhile, the Trapper Peak fire was ramping up northwest of Bonners Ferry, eventually burning 16,600 acres toward Canada before being brought under control after 31 days by firefighters and U.S. Army troops and local men.
In 2017, through the efforts of numerous agencies and organizations, including the Boundary County Museum, commemorative events were held throughout the area to observe the 50th year of these two unforgettable fires.
A part of the Museum’s research included the making of video oral histories of Boundary County folk who lived through the terrifying event. Below are four of the twenty-two interviews conducted, three remembering the fire lines and one remembering what happened in town:
John Alt – Moving equipment & Setting up camps
Vern McCalmant – Dozer Operator
Phil Schnuerle – Cooking on Trapper Peak at Cow Creek Meadows
Marjorie Cook Pinkerton – Town and Farm Memories