Near Payson in Gila County, Arizona — The American Mountains (Southwest)
The Dude Fire
On June 25, 1990 a lightning caused fire entrapped ten members of the Perryville fire crew in this canyon. Resulting in six fatalities. Before the fire was contained it had burned more than 24,000 acres and destroyed over 70 structures.
This tragic event inspired Paul Gleason to formulate L.C.E.S. (Lookout, Communication, Escape Route, Safety Zones) now a minimum safety standard for wildland firefighting. Lessons learned from this incident continue to influence fire suppression around the world today.
Erected by United States Forest Service, Tonto National Forest, Payson Ranger District, Paid and Volunteer Staff Time.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Disasters • Environment • Horticulture & Forestry. A significant historical month for this entry is June 1645.
Location. 34° 22.231′ N, 111° 14.165′ W. Marker is near Payson, Arizona, in Gila County. Marker is on Fire Control Road or "Control Road" (Route NF 64) 13.8 miles east of Arizona Route 260, on the left when traveling east. From Payson via SR 87, head north Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Payson AZ 85541, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. These Trees Planted in Memory of the Firefighters Who Died in the Dude Fire June 26, 1990 (here, next to this marker); General Crook Trail (approx. 5.7 miles away); Battle of Big Dry Wash (approx. 5.8 miles away); Shoofly Village Ruin (approx. 6.2 miles away); C.C.C. Co. 807 (approx. 8.3 miles away); a different marker also named General Crook Trail (approx. 10.1 miles away); Site of the Herron Hotel (approx. 11.2 miles away); Ox Bow Inn (approx. 11.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Payson.
More about this marker. There is a small parking lot on the North side of the road. The sign marks the head of Walk Moore Canyon, site of the Dude Fire entrapment in 1990.
Regarding The Dude Fire. The Dude Fire fatality site is part of a "Staff Ride" used to train Wildland Fire professionals in safety and decision making. The ride puts participants in the shoes and minds of a local unit administrator (i.e. USFS Ranger District) and people fighting fire on the ground. The Staff Ride tries to re-create the situation on the day of the event, and stimulate thought, discussion, and a final distillation of the Lessons Learned. In 1990, the Dude Fire investigation and review helped create reform in firefighter work practices (shift length), physical fitness requirements, fire communications, extreme fire behavior training,
Also see . . .
1. Wildland Fire Leadership Council Dude Fire Staff Ride Page. In its quest to improve safety and leadership response, the Wildland Fire Community turned to military officer leadership training. The Staff Ride technique is borrowed from military battle review practices. (Submitted on March 7, 2010.)
2. Historic and Contemporary Images from the Dude Fire and Staff Ride. (Submitted on March 7, 2010, by Chris English of Phoenix, Arizona.)
3. Wildland Fire Magazine Fall 2002 Issue Devoted to the Dude Fire Staff Ride. Researching the history of the Dude Fire and Staff Ride concept, the Dude Fire was apparently the first instance of the military staff ride concept brought into the wildland fire professional community. (Submitted on March 7, 2010.)
4. Rim Country Musuem Web Page. 2010 page is devoted to the 20th anniversary observations for the Dude Fire. (Submitted on May 11, 2010, by Chris English of Phoenix, Arizona.)
Credits. This page was last revised on August 3, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 6, 2010. This page has been viewed 4,652 times since then and 88 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on March 6, 2010. 2. submitted on March 8, 2010. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on March 6, 2010. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.