The Fire That Inspired a National Network of Lookout Towers

In 1911, the US Forest Service was tasked with putting out fires as fast as possible, a mandate driven in part by a huge fire that burned across a massive section of United States the year before — a devastating blaze that reshaped how Americans approached firefighting.
The Great Fire of 1910 is believed to be the largest fire in US history, earning it nicknames including the “Big Burn,” the “Big Blowup” and the “Devil’s Broom Fire.” It swept through millions of acres in northwestern states including Washington, Idaho and Montana. Ships that were hundreds of miles out at sea had trouble navigating due to the haze. People as far east as New York reported seeing smoke. Close to a hundred people died in the fire, including some firefighters.

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10 Responses to The Fire That Inspired a National Network of Lookout Towers

  1. Elmo says:

    “The Big Blowup”. A fire so intense that the conditions it created sucked old growth trees out of the ground and threw them like matchsticks.
    And this happened in the days before climate change. How can that be?

  2. Nemo says:

    Along with the piece at the link, there’s another article that gives more insight into the “why” of the big fires in this and last decade.

  3. anonymous says:

    I thought the Peshtigo fire back in 1800’s was 1st place – I never heard of this one myself (hanging head in shame).

  4. Westcoastdeplorable says:

    We have Cal Fire tankers flying over the house here in SoCal frequently since we’re in the pattern for the airport where many are based.. There are so many fires right now it’s hard to figure which one they’re fighting.

  5. geoffcsaltine says:

    Another good book on fire is Under A Flaming Sky, its about the fire in Minn when there was still a lot of logging in the great lakes area going on.

  6. Out here in Burnt Scrotum California (AKA the High Desert,) the whole area is
    clouded with smoke from a fire in the San Bernardino Mountains. In the People’s
    Republic of California, our liberal overlords have adopted a policy called “Benign
    neglect.” The forest floors in this state are littered with deadwood and brush. The
    environmental lobby sold them on the bullshit theory that forest fires are actually
    good for the health of the forests. In the eyes of the left, this is “Natures way.”

    In this fucked up Bizarro state, you can be cited for environmental “crimes” if you so
    much pick up some deadwood for your fireplace. In Los Angeles County, you can
    also be cited for using the fireplace in your own home, use a barbeque, a leafblower,
    or a gas operated lawnmower. We brought this on ourselves by electin these morons!

  7. ed357 says:

    Small underbrush burn offs……or Huge mega-fires burn ups…..

    Choose wisely.

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