Herb Oertli Interview, June 27, 1984


Herb Oertli


Kathy Root



Download Audio Interview (117.9 MB)

Download Transcript of Herb Oertli Interview (1.2 MB)


Herb Oertli talks about his career as a smokejumper, which began in 1948 and ended in 1960. He describes his training in Missoula, Montana, project work during his first “wet” year, and his jumps out of Silver City, New Mexico, in 1950. Oertli discusses retrieving bodies of fellow smokejumpers after the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire, and recalls the aftermath of that tragedy, including impacts on smokejumper morale and changes in Forest Service policies. He also describes working on the movie Red Skies of Montana, and speaks about smokejumping from the viewpoint of a professional jumper, spotter, and manager.

Document Type

Oral History


Smokejumpers Montana Biography; Smokejumping Montana History; Forest fires Montana; Red Skies of Montana

Original Date


Time Period

Twentieth century

Geographic Coverage




Original Collection

Smokejumpers 1984 Reunion Oral History Collection, OH 133, 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 Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, University of Montana-Missoula. Permission may be required for use of this item. For further information please contact Archives and Special Collections: (406) 243-2053 / library.archives@umontana.edu

Oral History Number

OH 133-079

Media Type

Sound; Text

Original Format

1 sound cassette (90 min.) : analog + 1 transcript (21 p. : 28 cm.)

Digital Format

audio/mp3; application/pdf

Run Time

01:33:38 minutes

Local Filename

OH_133_079.mp3; OH_133_079.pdf

Herb Oertli Interview, June 27, 1984
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