It started with lightning. On August 5, 1949 lightning struck south side of Mann Gulch, in the middle of Montana's Helena National Forest, igniting a wildfire. Firefighters and smoke jumpers (those who parachute into a wildfire) tried to put it out, but the land was too dry and the gulch was too windy. The men soon found themselves only yards from quickly advancing flames. Their leader, a foreman named Wagner Dodge, started an escape fire a small flame designed to create a patch of burned land that the fire would bypass but the firefighters were unfamiliar with this technique and tried to escape on their own. Thirteen men died; only Dodge and two others survived. The tragedy would later be recounted in Norman Maclean's book Young Men and Fire.