Ivan O'Neil Interview, June 16, 2017


Ivan O'Neil


Beth Hodder



Download Interview (56.3 MB)

Download Transcript of Ivan O'Neil Interview (164 KB)


Ivan O’Neil discusses his experiences as a U.S. Forest Service fire lookout at the Pioneer Ridge Lookout in the Flathead National Forest in Montana. He recalls lying about his age to get a summer job on a brush crew at the Coram Ranger Station in the Flathead National Forest, which led to getting a job as a fire lookout the following summer. He describes the lookout quarters, his food and other supplies, and visits from other fire lookouts. O’Neil talks about nearby lookout stations, such as Battery, Canyon, and Wildcat, some of which were not manned. He also talks about his primary duties which included watching for fires and lightning strikes and recording them. O’Neil describes serving as a smokechaser on several fires and reminisces about daily life as a lookout.


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Document Type

Oral History


U.S. Forest Service; Pioneer Ridge Lookout, Montana; Flathead National Forest, Montana; Coram Ranger District; Hungry Horse Ranger District; Jim Root; George Ostrom; Elk Park, Montana; South Fork Flathead, Montana; Kalispell, Montana; Battery Lookout, Montana; Wildcat Lookout, Montana; Canyon Lookout, Montana; Desert Mountain Lookout, Montana; Pioneer Lookout; Alidade; Walt Bahr

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 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 453-006

Media Type

Sound; Text

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

00:37:50 minutes

Local Filename

OH_453_006.mp3; OH_453_006.pdf

Ivan O'Neil Interview, June 16, 2017