National Geographic : 1950 Jun
The National Geographic Magazine Ernest Briscoe from Northern IPaifl Railway Co. Soon This Palomino Colt Will Wear a Brand Working cowboys still handle the lariat on Montana ranches. In the Tongue River country the old West remains little changed. More than 150,000 horses are required to supply riders throughout the State. largest of the six colleges making up the Mon tana State University system administered by a State Board of Education. Other units are the Montana State College at Bozeman, the Montana School of Mines at Butte, the West ern Montana College of Education at Dillon, the Eastern Montana College of Education at Billings, and the Northern Montana College at Havre. Smoke Jumpers Fight Forest Fires On the outskirts of Missoula we visited Hale Flying Field, headquarters for fire-fighting ac tivities of the United States Forest Service, Region 1. An intrepid corps of 150 "smoke jumpers" were standing ready to fly to any fire within a radius of hundreds of miles. When a fire is sighted anywhere in the vast timbered area, a central dispatcher reports its exact location as determined by triangulation of readings taken from several stations.* A crew of 10 to 15 Hale Field boys, fully equipped with parachutes and fire-fighting ap- paratus, will be in their specially constructed planes and in the air in 20 minutes at the most. Once they were on the way in 14 minutes after the call came in. These boys have a hazardous occupation, but an official at the field told me he has a constant waiting list of 1,000 eager to join the corps. They fly to the fire, parachute to the ground, and fight the blaze with the most efficient methods (page 711). North from Missoula we drove down the Jocko Valley and over a low divide into the Mission Valley. On the trip we passed St. Ignatius, founded by Fathers Joseph Minetrey and Adrian Hoecken, associates of Father De Smet. We caught a fleeting glimpse as we skirted the National Bison Range near Moiese of a herd of shaggy buffalo silhouetted against a brown, grassy hill (page 730). In midafternoon we were greeted by jovial * See "Forest Lookout." by Ella E. Clark, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE, July, 1946.