June Ash describes the summer of 1952 when she and her husband, Rod Ash, worked as fire lookouts on the Big Swede Lookout in the Kootenai National Forest near Libby, Montana. Ash tells how they moved from Berkeley, California, after attending college for their lookout jobs with the U.S. Forest Service. She shares memories of their time as lookouts, and notes the Big Swede was a hub of activity and they entertained a number of visitors including railroad workers, members of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and people from other lookouts. Ash describes baking bread and making jam on a wood stove, and doing laundry both on the stove and at the laundromat. She recalls how their time as lookouts had a positive impact on their lives even after they returned to California to teach, telling how they purchased a summer cabin in Condon, Montana, returned often to visit the Big Swede, and became lifelong Forest Service volunteers.
Swan Valley, Montana; Condon, Montana; Kootenai National Forest; Fire lookouts, Montana; Forest fires, Montana; U.S. Forest Service; Big Swede Lookout
Northwest Montana Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association Oral History Collection, OH 453, Archives and Special Collections, Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula
University of Montana--Missoula. Mansfield Library
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Oral History Number
1 sound file (00:48:51 min.): digital, + 1 transcript (13 p.: 28 cm.)
Ash, June and Ash, Gordon, "June Ash and Gordon Ash Interview, November 1, 2016" (2016). Northwest Montana Chapter of the Forest Fire Lookout Association Oral History Project. 3.