Martial Law Declared, August 1931

(Abstracted from Helmer, Cheryl. -- Warren Times/A collection of news about Warren, Idaho. Henington Publishing Company, Wolfe City, TX., 1988.)

Governor Orders Martial Law, Idaho Daily Statesman, August 30

Four counties were declared Saturday to be in a state of martial law, in a proclamation by Governor C. Ben Ross. The counties are Boise, Gem, Valley and Idaho counties where the forest fire situation has been grave in recent weeks. The Governor said, "it has been made to appear to my satisfaction that many of said fires are of incendiary origin", after a conference of state officials, national guard and forest service officials at which the whole situation was thoroughly canvased.

Idaho Daily Statesman, September 1:

In a relentless campaign to prevent incenciarism, five rifle, a machine gun company and two medical units of the Idaho National Guards are patrolling roads in four Idaho counties.

The new unit will have the patrol of roads, particularly the North and South Highway in Adams County, with a station at New Meadows. In Idaho county, the posts are at Burgdorf, Warren and Riggins. In Valley County, they are patroling the highway through McCall and Cascade.

(Personal communication with author): During these depressed times, the men who are fighting the fires are employed by the National Forests, their jobs ending when the fires are put out. There have been many reports that fires are started in order to continue employment.

Martial Law Ends, Idaho Daily Statesman, September 17

Martial law in the timbered areas of central and southern Idaho was ended last Thursday and the troops were recalled from the seven counties in which they held sway for a ten day period.

Withdrawl of the troops followed a series of cold nights, showers and snow which reduced the fire hazards, particularly in the higher altitudes.

Counties included in the restricted area were: Idaho, Boise, Gem, Valley, Adams, Custer and Lemhi.

For more on the events leading up to the declaration, see Helmer's book.

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Note from Coordinator
This gives me the exact date for a couple of my McConnel family stories. My Grandfather McConnel was employed as a "timber guard" and my grandmother went through an armed check-point going to Smith Ferry from High Valley to check mail. If your family was living in Valley County in 1931, this event undoubtedly impacted them, too. -


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