Locations Manager(s): Michael J. Burmeister, Dow Griffith
Always Filming Locations:
The movie was filmed extensively at Libby in Montana and Ephrata, Washington State.
The Libby, Montana airport was used for the firefighters mountain airbase for the opening and ending sections. Pete struggles to glide his plane down the flightline to the runway with the mountains in the background. Recently the wooden tower was still located on the airport. The general aviation airport is approximately seven miles south of the town of Libby in Lincoln County, Montana. This facility is open to the public, and there is no landing fee. [Thanks to Craig Happ]
Dorinda dumps her airplane into Bull Lake near Libby at the end of the movie. [Thanks to Pete Wilerd]
One of the fire planes picks up water from Bull Lake, causing two fishermen to "bail" out of their boat. This lake is located south of Troy, MT on highway 56. There are several areas for camping where the lake can also be accessed for fishing, swimming, or boating. On the east side of the lake there is a small bar called the Halfway House where travelers and locals can pick up a cool drink or convenient meal. [Thanks to Resa]
A road that is accessed on the south side of the lake leads up to an old stand of cedar trees called Ross Creek Cedars. There are a couple of trails that meander through the area that offer a cool shady place for visitors to unwind and find tranquility. In the "wetter" seasons, there is also a creek that runs to the south of the area. Although the movie depicts the rescue of the firefighters into Bull Lake from the creek, that actually is not logistically possible from the creek they were using. [Thanks to Resa]
The tower used at the Libby airport was still standing when I was placed there on "standby" as medical officer for the fires of 2001. Although I don't believe it is used for "active duty" it remains as a claim to fame for the area. [Thanks to Resa]
The Memorial Gym in downtown Libby was used to film the scene where everyone gets to dance with Dorinda. [Thanks to Pete Wilerd]
The airport at Ephrata is the location for the firefighters training airbase. The diagram on the sectional aviation chart matches what is shown in the movie... [Thanks to Craig Happ]
In Ephrata, everything was filmed out at or by the airport. Dorinda's house was built out there specifically for the movie... I'm not sure about the airbase, but most of the scenes look like they were from the area around the airport... It's a rural airport that is only used for small commercial flights, no big planes. It was obviously an extremely exciting time for everyone in the little town of Ephrata. -Probably the most exciting thing to happen since McDonald's opened! [Thanks to Brenda Middleton]
The scenes where the pilot's training to drop retardent on the flaming barrel were filmed near Ephrata, Washington. [Thanks to Ken]
The Billingsley Ranch, in the Palisades, Washington is where they filmed many scenes from the movie. Especially the scene when John Goodman was sitting on the top of those cliffs training the students. For years we would find that red powder stuff all over when we would be riding around the ranch! :) I know this because it was my Granny and Grandpa's Ranch, which my uncle now runs. :) [Thanks to Audra Billingsley]
The "Ceasar's" bar scene was shot in Lind, WA, in a real bar called 'Slims'.
Aerial sequences were filmed in rural Stockton, primarily at the New Jerusalem Airstrip near Tracy, CA
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Each location will have it's own page with then/now pictures, maps, StreetView, discovery story and the most detailed explanations on how the location was used. Most importantly, the locations will have a status that shows whether they are verified correct and by whom. We are working with the actual locations managers or other crew where possible. The whole thing will be very interactive and you will, of course, be able to update everything.
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