On Wednesday morning, September 9, 1942, the I-25, under the command of Lieutenant Commander Meiji Tagami, surfaced west of Cape Blanco.
Launching from the Japanese sub I-25, Nobuo Fujita piloted his light aircraft over the state of Oregon and firebombed Mount Emily, alighting a state forest–and ensuring his place in the history books as the only man to ever bomb the continental United States.
The president immediately called for a news blackout for the sake of morale. No long-term damage was done, and Fujita eventually went home to train navy pilots for the rest of the war.
Howard “Razz” Gardner spotted and reported the incoming “Glen” from his fire lookout tower on Mount Emily in the Siskiyou National Forest.
Although Razz did not see the bombing, he saw the smoke plume and reported the fire to the dispatch office. He was instructed to hike to the fire to see what suppression he could do. Dispatch also sent USFS Fire Lookout Keith V. Johnson from the nearby Bear Wallow Lookout Tower.
The two men proceeded to the location and were able to keep the fire under control. Only a few small scattered fires were started because the bombs were not dropped from the correct height.The men stayed on scene and worked through the night keeping the fires contained. In the morning, a fire crew arrived to help. A recent rain storm had kept the area wet, which helped the fire lookouts contain the blaze.
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