Now archeologists are excavating the tunnel entrance as part of the Pulaski Project.
Now archeologists are excavating the tunnel entrance as part of the Pulaski Project. He beat out flames at the front of the tunnel and had to use his pistol to keep the crew from panicking and running outside to sure death as flames swept through the creek valley.
All but six crew members survived. Now archeologists are excavating the tunnel entrance as part of the Pulaski Project.
Organizers eventually want to build an observation deck at the end of the two-mile Pulaski Tunnel Trail, which begins about half a mile south of Wallace.
\"I can\'t even imagine being in that situation,\" project director Alicia Valentino said. \"The trail is hard enough for me. I can\'t imagine running for my life without the trail.\"
The Big Blowup, as the fire was called, killed at least 85 people, destroyed entire towns and blackened about 4,700 square miles along the northern Montana-Idaho border. It prompted the U.S. Forest Service to begin fighting wildfires more aggressively for the rest of the 20th century.
The next year, Pulaski invented a device — the Pulaski tool, part ax and part hoe — that is still used in fighting forest fires today.
Steve Matz, a Forest Service archaeologist, said he hopes the dig will find more artifacts to support historical accounts.
\"They are the things archaeologists can pull together to tell the story,\" Matz told The Spokesman-Review. \"Even the smallest scraps can be important.\"
Archaeologists have so far unearthed what appears to be pieces of a cart or wheelbarrow just outside the tunnel entrance.
Crews have also been trying to locate the site of a cabin that once stood in the area.
Experts from Northwest Archaeology Associates Inc. in Seattle, along with four high school students, excavated layers about 4 inches at a time.
Because of looting recently, archaeologists are removing everything from the site, Matz said. One item that vanished was the door of a cast iron stove with an embossed date of 1885.
The dig is being funded with grants from the Inland Northwest Community Foundation and others.
The excavation is required before work can begin restoring the tunnel entrance to the way it appeared when Pulaski and his crew retreated there in 1910. "
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