D. H. Ramsey Library Special Collections and University Archives

John J. Keetch US Forest Service Collection

Summary Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives
John J. Keetch US Forest Service Collection
Date [inclusive]
5.6 Linear feet  ; 10 boxes
Physical Description
Contains handwritten notes and calculations, correspondence and other documentation, printed materials, and realia
Located in Special Collections, Row 4, Section 2

Preferred Citation

John J. Keetch US Forest Service Collection, D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville 28804

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Scope and Contents

Contains documents and items written or collected by John J. Keetch and related to his work with the U.S. Forest Service. In 1968, Keetch and George M. Byram published, "A Drought Index for Forest Fire Control", an index to calculate the fire danger in forests, and most of the materials in this collection reflect Keetch's long interest in fire danger, and calculating its risk. Included are Keetch's notes and calculations, some dating back his time as a forestry school student, along with published charts and materials on silviculture, and physical items used to calculated fire risk. The exception to this scope is a paper on pollution in the French Broad River, thought to have been written by Keetch's daughter Mary when she was a high school student.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

UNC Asheville Special Collections and University Archives

Ramsey Library, CPO # 1500
One University Heights
Asheville, North Carolina, 28804-8504


No restrictions. Any display, publication, or public use must credit the D.H. Ramsey Library, Special Collections, University of North Carolina at Asheville. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.


John J. Keetch ; Mary Keetch

Processing Note

Processed by Gene Hyde and Colin Reeve, February 2019

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Collection Inventory

Box 1: Fire Danger Materials & Personal Documents 

Folder 1: Fire Danger Rating Documentation 

Outline for talk by J.J. Keetch at Fire Training School, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, February 28, 1961. "The Development of a National Fire Danger Rating System" 

Fire Danger Rating Principles and Practice, lecture outline, Woods Hole, MA, 1961 

Draft: Developments in Forest Fire Danger Rating, J.J. Keetch, 11-5-64 

R-7 Fire Control Training Handbook, October 6, 1958 

Reports and documents related to fire suppression, rating, and dame 

Folder 2: Keetch - Personal - Fire Control Work Plans, 1969-72 

Folder 3: Personal documents related to John J. Keetch's employment in the Forest Service and his US Citizenship, 1932-65 

Folder 4: "Development of the National Fire-Danger Rating System: Basic Structure Spread Phase," by John. J. Keetch, forester (Fire Control), August 1965 (Spiral Bound USFS Report. 82 pages with appendices. 

Folder 5: Documents related to the "rate of spread" of fire 

Folder 6: Fire Danger Charts 

Folder 7: Dryness Index Data 

Folder 8: The Northeastern Logger, Vol. 2, No. 9, May 1954. "Forest Fire Prevention" issue. Includes article by Keetch 

Folder 9: "History of Forest Fire Danger Measurement in the United States," by Keetch. Outline and chapter/essay draft 

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Box 2: Fire Data, Keetch's Class Notes & Publications, and Forestry Documents 

Folder 1: Forest Service Info, Class of 1938. Includes roster of Class of 1938, "Songs the Forester Sings" book, and unidentified photo of a field with cut timber 

Folder 2: Keetch publications 

"Smoker Fires," in Conservation, Jan-Feb 1942 

"Forest Fire Damage Appraisal Procedures and Tables for the Northeast," by Lindenmuth, Keetch, and Nelson, USFS Station Paper No. 11, September 1951 

"Open Method for Measuring Fire Danger in Hardwood Forests," by Lindenmuth and Keetch,USFS Technical Note No. 71, March 1946 

"Correlation of Plant Moisture in Hawaii with the Keetch-Byram Drought Index," by Robert E. Burgan, USDA Forest Service Research Note PSW-307, 1976 

"Smoker Fires and Fire Brands" USFS Technical Note 49, December 1941 (2 copies) 

"A Method for Appraising Forest-Fire Damage in Southern Appalachian Mountain Types," by Jemison and Keetch, Fire Control Notes, April 1941 

'Sprout Development on Once-Burned and Repeatedly Burned Areas in the Southern Appalachians" USFS Technical Note No. 59, July 1944 

"Fire Frequency as a Measure of Fire Prevention Accomplishments," Keetch and Lidenmuth, Research Notes No. 37, July 1953, USFS Southeastern Forest Experiment Station 

"Instructions for using Forest Fire Danger Meter Type 8" USFS Station Paper No. 33, 1954 

"Schematics of Problem Solving" 

Folder 3: "General Forestry" class notes, 1933 

Folder 4: USFS memos and reports on fire danger and fire control, 1928-61, plus 3 booklets on climate and weather 

Folder 5: Unified fire danger system documents, 1943-60, plus Forest Fire Research Bibliography, 1933-59 

Folder 6: Barrier width equation documentations 

Folder 7: Keetch letter outlining his "approach to a history of fire danger rating" in the US, with supporting documentation. 1977 

Folder 8: USGS Land Use Data Program 

Folder 9: Sequoia Fire Data 

Folder 10: Six Rivers Fire Data 

Folder 11: San Bernardino Fire Data 

Folder 12: Assorted correspondence and statistical data 

Folder 13: Humidity, wet-bulb, and dry-bulb studies and data 

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Box 3: Fire Severity Calculations, Prescribed Burning, and Other Documents 

Folder 1: Fire Severity Calculations, Part 1 

Folder 2: Fire Severity Calculations, Part 2 

Folder 3: "Climatological Summary for the Priest River Forest Experimental Station, 1912 - 1931" 

Folder 4: Forest Service Handbook, Table 655, 1964 

Folder 5: Glossary of Terms 

Used in Forest Fire Control, USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 104, 1956 

Forest Fire Control Terns, National Research Council, Ottawa, 1963 

Used in Fire Weather Discussion, US Department of the interior, 1965 

For Use as a Training Aid with National Forest Fire Behavior Courses, USDA, 1966 

Folder 6: Prescribed Burning 

Wind Directions for Prescribed Burning in the Southeastern US, Station Paper No. 131, 1961 

Some Effects of Prescribed Burning on Coastal Plain Forest Soil, Station paper No. 133, 1961 

Prescribed Burning for Understory Control in Loblolly Pine Stands of the Coastal Plain, Station Paper No. 116, 1960 

Folder 7: Lists of Publications 

Publications of the Southeaster Forest Experimental Station, 1959-1963, 1965 

Presuppression Publications, 1941-1967, (compiled by John Keetch) 

Folder 8: Psychrometric Tables, US Department of Commerce, 1941 

Folder 9: Project Fire Model, Summary Progress report - II, 1960-1962, USDA 

Folder 10: John Keetch Position Description and Personnel Materials 

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Box 4: Fire Danger Documentation 

Folder 1: History of Forestry & Fire Danger Ratings 

Folder 2: Work Plans, (1958-1970) 

Folder 3: Forest Service Organization Directory, 1972 

Folder 4: "Elementary Forest Sampling", Agriculture Handbook No. 232, 1962 

Folder 5: "Average Daily Maximum Temperature in the US, 1916-1935" 

Folder 6: Fire-Danger & Fire-Weather Seminars, 1972 

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Box 5: Taxonomy of Trees and Silviculture 

Folder 1: Regional Silviculture, Keetch's Notes on, (1931) 

Folder 2: "Conventional Signs for Forest Maps" 

Folder 3: "Southern Forestry Smoke Management Guidebook", USDA, 1976 

Folder 4: Forest Fire Research, (1950s & 1960s) 

Folder 5: "The Dendrology of the More Important Trees of the US, Part 1, Hardwoods", (1934) 

Folder 6: "Carolina Trees", Club Series No.80, 1954 

Folder 7: Taxonomy 

Folder 8: Silviculture 1, Foundations of Silviculture, Lecture Notes, 1935 

Folder 9: "History Line", 1975 & 1999 [2 issues] 

Folder 10: Pollution in the French Broad River (by Mary Keetch) 

Folder 11: Bibliography (index cards), (1900- 1979) 

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Box 6: Tree Identification and Diseases 

Folder 1: Common Trees by State 

Forest Trees of Kentucky 

Forest Trees of Maine 

Trees and Shrubs of New Hampshire 

Shrubs and Woody Vines of North Carolina 

Forest Trees on North Carolina 

Forest Trees of Virginia 

Forest Trees of West Virginia 

Forest Trees and Forest Regions of the US 

Folder 2: "Sixty Trees from Foreign Lands" Agriculture Handbook No. 212, USDA, 1961 

Folder 3: "Endangered Rare and Uncommon Wildflowers Found in the Southern Forests", USDA, 1970 

Folder 4: Tree Diseases & Deficiencies Bulletins 

"Tree Diseases of Eastern Forests and Farm Woodlands", Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 254, USDA, 1962 

"Deficiency Symptoms of Some Forest Trees", Research Bulletin 1015, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, 1969 

Folder 5: "Schlich's Manual of Forestry, Vol. II, Sylviculture", W S Schlich, 1904 

Folder 6: Two notebooks (of Keetch) 

Folder 7: List of Species in the Wood Collection [Box 7] 

Folder 8: Notes about trees & and shrubs, handwritten on 42 pieces of paper 4.25" x 2.75" 

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Box 7: Wood Samples 

Small wood blocks numbered 1 through 70, although some numbers are missing, and some are duplicated, of different timber types. Listing of samples is in Box 6, Folder 7 

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Box 8: Fire Danger Station Network 

Card index of the Fire Danger Station network cooperating with the Eastern Defense Command. Cards are arranged by state and describe the station location, and contact information for observer and forester/warden 

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Box 9: Realia and Oversize 

"Forester's Review Book 1937", 

"A Forest Atlas of the Northeast", Howard W Lull, USDA, 1968 

Fire risk calculations and charts for Redbird Unit, Kentucky, (1953) 

Fire Control Notebook, California Region, US Forest Service, 1949 

Region 7 National Forest Dispatcher's Initial Attack Strength Calculator 

Longleaf-Slash Pine Fire-Danger Meter, USDA, 1939 [2 meters included] 

Slide to a calculation computer (other parts missing) 

Homemade fire danger calculator, comprising four strips of paper glued to wood base, 7.25" x 4" overall 

Psychrometric computer, plastic, 11" diameter 

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Box 10: Diaries 

Personal diaries of John Keetch, 1939-1973 [1954 is missing], describing Keetch's personal and professional daily activities. Amount of detail varies by year 

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Box 11: Tree Species Notes 

Handwritten notes and leaf prints describing tree species. Author and when or why they were written are unknown. 








































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