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Mike Lubke is the winner!

Major Evan Kelly is the answer for Week 325 of Orofino History Trivia a special feature to celebrate the history and heritage of Clearwater Country.

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Monday: Resisted the establishment of the Selway-Bitterroot Primitive Area

Tuesday: Was a colorful pioneer

Wednesday: Was born in a gold mining town in California

Thursday: Became a major during World War II

Friday: In 1906 he joined a new organization and his pay was $60 per month.

Saturday: Gained wide recognition for his work in reorganizing and developing wildfire control methods

Monday: Spent 38 years with the Forest Service

Tuesday: Helped develop the use of smokejumpers on wildfires

Wednesday: Retired in 1944

Thursday: Held positions in three regions and the Washington office of the Forest Service

Thursday: Was the Northern Regional Forester out of Missoula, MT

According to White Mountain History (, Major Evan William Kelly was one of the most colorful pioneers of the U.S. Forest Service. He first joined the service in the second year of its existence and spent 38 years becoming one of its legends while holding positions in three regions and the Washington office.

He was born in the gold mining town of Sierra City, CA on Oct. 19, 1882 and began working in the gold mines at 14 years old.

Kelly got a job his first job with the newly formed U.S. Forest Service on May 1, 1906 when he was appointed a Forest Guard on the Yuba Forest Reserve (later a part of the Tahoe National Forest). His starting pay was $60 per month. He passed the Ranger exam in 1906 and rose quickly in the ranks to become the supervisor of the Eldorado National Forest in 1910. As time passed, his ability at organization attracted the attention of the regional office and in 1915, he moved to San Francisco as National Forest Examiner in charge of generla forest improvement activities in the California Region.

In 1917, during World War I he was a captain in the 10th Engineers (forestry regiment). In 1918, as a major, he was in command of all operations of the 20th Engineers in eastern France and continued until the end of the war.

After the war in 1919, he resumed his work with the Forest Service. Early in 1920 he transferred to the Washington office as a Fire Control Inspector. In 1925, he became Regional Forester of the Eastern Region which included the White Mountain National Froest (Region 7 at that time). Kelly was impressed with timber producing possibilities of the region ad worked to improve the fire control systems. In 1929, he transferred to Missoula, MT to be the Northern Regional Forester and it was at this time that he had the most impact on the Clearwater area.

Kelly gained wide recognition for his work in reorganizing and developing wildfire control methods such as construction of fire lookouts and truck trails. The two greatly simplified detectionof fires and faster intial response. He also helped develop the use of portable two-way radios and smokejumping on wildfires.

He was also detailed briefly to head the Guaryule Emergency Rubber Project in California in 1942 to help supply rubber for the war effort. He returned to his Forest Service career in 1943 in Missoula and retired in 1944.

He also reorganized and centralized USFS pack animals from the northern region to the Nine Mile Remount Depot near Missoula. The animals were dispatched like reserve combat elements to battle fires in the region. Today that depot is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as the USFS Wilderness Training Center for the North West, as well as a pack center, the web site says.

Kelly died in Santa Barbara, CA, on Oct. 1, 1966.

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Orofino, ID 83544
Phone: (208) 476-0733
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