East Portal in Mineral County, Montana — The American West (Mountains)
Pluck and Good Fortune
“I won’t die here in this creek… [I’m] getting out of here.” - Pinkie Adair, homesteader and camp cook
During the 1910 Fires, perseverance often meant the difference between life and death. At 26 years old, Ione “Pinkie” Adair could ride, shoot and cook. She lived about 10 miles from where you are standing. When a fire crew set up camp nearby, Adair hired on to cook for the 74 men, including 60 prisoners released from jail to fight the fires.
On August 20, heavy smoke descended into their camp. The ranger ordered everyone to take blankets into the river and cover their heads. They all did as ordered and ran for the water as the fire roared and trees crashed to the ground around them. But Pinkie would not stay. She scrambled up and over the riverbank and disappeared.
Thirty miles away, Pinkie finally staggered into Avery, Idaho, as the last train was leaving. The engineer spotted the exhausted young woman with singed eyebrows and tattered clothes and told her to climb aboard. Clinging tightly to the caboose, Pinkie rode to safety.
Location. 47° 23.792′ N, 115° 38.094′ W. Marker is in East Portal, Montana, in Mineral County. Marker can be reached from Rainy Creek Road (Federal Road 506) 2 miles south of Exit 5 (Taft) (Interstate 90). Touch for map. Located at the Route of the Hiawatha Trailhead. Marker is in this post office area: Saltese MT 59867, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. A Battle That Could Not Be Won (here, next to this marker); Life Along the Line (a few steps from this marker); Substation 13 (a few steps from this marker); When the Mountains Roared (a few steps from this marker); An Unlikely Safe Haven (a few steps from this marker); Building From the Ashes (within shouting distance of this marker); Douse the Flames and Climb Aboard (within shouting distance of this marker); The Route of the Hiawatha (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in East Portal.
More about this marker. On the lower right is a photo of Pinkie Adair with the caption, "With her strength and spirit intact, Pinkie lived to tell about the fires. “It was exciting,” she recalled. “You never knew when you got up in the morning whether the wind would bring the fire your way.” Pinkie died in 1977. She was 94."
above photo: Robin Tokmakian
right photo: Latah County Museum
Also see . . .
1. 1910 Fire Commemoration Information Site. US Forest Service (Submitted on August 3, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
2. U.S. Forest Service History - The 1910 Fires. The Forest History Society (Submitted on August 3, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
3. The West is Burning Up! The 1910 Fire. By Jim Petersen, Evergreen Magazine, Winter Edition 1994-1995 (Submitted on August 3, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • Disasters •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 3, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 611 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 3, 2011, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.