Disaster Relief

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A painted sheet that the “Prettyman Party” used to signal for help. The party was rescued by CCC Company 573. Courtesy of Weber State University via Mountain West Digital Library.

As part of their work, men in CCC camps often responded when unexpected disasters occurred in their areas. They fought forest fires, helped out in blizzards, and provided assistance with flood control. They also worked on disaster prevention measures. The trails, lookout towers, firebreaks, and roads that the CCC built made previously inaccessible forest areas more easily defended from fires. At the same time, removing underbrush and cleaning up potentially flammable materials in forests also decreased the prevalence of small fires that are actually beneficial to a forest’s ecosystem.

One notable rescue was the case of the Prettyman party, where CCC men from Boulder City came to the rescue of a small group who were trapped by snow near the Nevada-Maryland mine, close to Rachel, Nevada. The CCC also were key in helping people in Indiana during the Ohio River flood of 1937. The CCC helped save sheep herds in Utah during blizzards in 1936 and 1937.