This collection includes ten interviews with United States Forest Services personnel detailing the research and philosophy of Harry T. Gisborne and others on forest management. The interviews were conducted in 1976 by Charles E. “Mike” Hardy. The interviewees discuss Harry Gisborne’s work related to forest fire prevention and control during the 1930s including the development of fuel moisture sticks and other weather monitoring equipment. The original interviews are held as Oral History collection OH 044 at Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula.
This collection includes 10 interviews.
A. A. Brown
A. A. Brown credits Harry Gisborne for being a pioneer of fire research. Brown notes that Gisborne’s enthusiasm helped convince the U.S. Forest Service administration and fire fighters of the importance of fire research and its role in fire prevention and control. Brown criticizes Gisborne for his rather narrow studies on northern white pine forests and his belief that the work done at Priest River Experimental Forest was better than anywhere else.
Charles A. Wellner
Charles "Chuck" Wellner relates the history of the Priest River Experimental Forest from 1921 to 1965. He also discusses the people involved with the forest and their relationships and contributions to the area of forest fire research.
Charles Tebbe speaks on Harry T. Gisborne’s accomplishments in the realm of fire control in Montana. He refers to the discovery of artificial rain or snow by dropping dry ice from great heights, as well as the research Gisborne conducted on wind velocity, humidity, and flammability in order to better control wildfires. Tebbe also recounts the story of Gisborne’s death, surveying land to hopefully learn why a recent forest fire had killed 13 firefighters.
No interviewer present. Likely a self-recorded reminiscence. Archives and Special Collections does not have the audio for this interview, only a transcript.
Clayton S. Crocker
Clayton Crocker describes the forest fire research he conducted with Harry Gisborne from 1929-1949. He talks about his time as the acting supervisor of the Selway Forest during the 1930s. Crocker also mentions the water bombing project conducted by Jack Barrows and the U.S. Air Force in the 1930s.
The audio and transcript for this interview are Charles Hardy’s notes and summary of his unrecorded interview with Clayton Crocker.
George M. Jemison
George Jemison describes the fire prevention and control research projects that Harry Gisborne was involved with in the 1930s. Jemison discusses Gisborne’s development of fuel moisture sticks, the duff hygrometer, and an anemohygrograph, which measured fine fuel moister, duff moisture, and wind speed. Jemison also gives an assessment of Gisborne as an employer and as a friend.
G. Lloyd Hayes
G. Lloyd Hayes describes the instrumentation research done to create the robots used to monitor moisture, temperature and wind in the forests. He also discusses working closely with Gisborne who he describes as a problem solver who focused on preparedness.
Jack S. Barrows
Jack Barrows discusses the organization of the fire research unit of the U.S. Forest Service. He also describes Harry Gisborne's role in fire research, his philosophy and his relationships with other fire researchers.
Robert Johnson describes a number of forest fire research projects that he and his company Johnson Flying Service assisted Harry Gisborne with including cloud-seeding project, tussock moth spraying, and fire retardant drops.
Vincent J. Schaefer
Vincent Schaefer describes his summer on Priest River working with Harry Gisborne on atmospheric studies including lightning suppression to reduce forest fires.
William G. Morris
William Morris describes the work of Richard McArdle and Harry Gisborne during the 1930s to develop a fuel moisture indicator. Morris also discusses the studies conducted by McArdle and Gisborne to test the accuracy of weather forecasting as it relates to fire frequency.