Gene Miller Interview, February 4, 2021


Gene Miller


Beth Hodder, Kjell Petersen



Download Audio Interview (215.6 MB)

Download Transcript of Gene Miller Interview (294 KB)


Gene Miller describes growing up in Montana’s Swan Valley and how that helped him decide to become a U.S. Forest Service lookout. Miller talks about his 38-year tenure as a lookout, including on Priscilla Peak, three lookout towers as a relief staffer, and then 37 years on Blue Mountain. He tells about several fire incidents, including the inside phone melting after a lightning strike and igniting a fire under the lookout. He recalls a diverse range of visitors to the tower including Russian and Chinese delegations, pot smokers, an arsonist who was starting fires along the road, and the Hells Angels.


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Document Type

Oral History


Subjects: Pricilla Peak Lookout; Blue Mountain Lookout; Lolo National Forest; Fire lookout; Fire fighting, Montana; Wildlife; Lightning strikes; Arsonists; Hells Angels; Foreign delegations

Personal Names: Gene Miller Corporate Names: U.S. Forest Service

Geographical Names: Montana; Lolo National Forest; Sundance Ridge; Swan Valley

Occupations: Fire lookouts; Delegates; Motorcyclists

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Northwest Montana Lookout Association Oral History Project, OH 453, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula

Digital Publisher

University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library


Copyright to this collection is held by the interview participants and by the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 /

Oral History Number

OH 453-012

Media Type

Moving Image; Sound; Text

Original Format

1 MP4 file (01:34:12): digital + 1 transcript (24 pp.: 28 cm.)

Digital Format

video/mp4; application/pdf

Run Time

01:34:12 minutes

Local Filename

OH_453_012.mp4; OH_453_012.pdf

Gene Miller Interview, February 4, 2021