Great and Historical Forest Fires, Daily Racing Form, 1919-11-16


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GREAT AND HISTORICAL FOREST FIRES There have been a number of great fires which have attained historic importance. One of these occurred in Xew Brunswick, in the fall of 1S25, on the Miramichi River, during a, season of great drought. Within nine hours that fire had burned over a strip of forest eighty miles long and twenty-five miles wide, destroying every living tiling in its path. One hundred and sixty persons perished and nearly a thousand head of stock. Five hundred and ninety buildings burned and a large number of towns were destroyed, including Xewcastle, Chatham and Douglastown. It is related that even great quantities of fish in rivers were killed by the heat of the fire. Another historic fire was that which occurred in Wisconsin in the fall of 1871. A single fire swept over an area of more than two thousand square miles. It destroyed the town of Peshtigo.and between 1.200 and 1,500 persons perished. That same year the damage by fire elsewhere in the country was enormous. Still another lire, remembered by many persons, was that which destroyed" the town of Hinckley, Minn., in the fall of 1S94. As in other cases, there was a sudden season of exceptional drought. Many fires were constantly starting during that fall, but there was no effective effort to extinguish them. Forest fires were so common that there was no special fear of possible danger until it was too late to meet the situation. As often happens when there are many fires burning under these conditions and a high wind springs up, the different small fires were suddenly merged and a great crown fire resulted, which swept over the town of Hinckley and six other towns, entirely destroying them, killing 500 persons and making over two thousand more entirely destitute. The estimated loss in property by this lire was more than 25,000,000. The most recent great disaster from forest fires occurred in the Pacific northwest in 1010. That year was the driest ever "known in the west, par-ticulary in northern Idaho and northwestern Montana. On July 23 a severe electric storm, practically without rain, passed over the northern Rocky Mountains, setting a large number of fires. The Coeur dAIene Mountains in particular suffered from these lires. In three days the forest rangers put out nine fires set by lightning in the Coeur dAIene national forest. From one cause or another many other lires were set. Heroic measures were taken to extinguish them. At one time 1,800 men, besides two companies of soldiers, were fighting fires in the Coeur dAIene forest alone, and large crews were fighting fires in other parts of the northwestern -forests. The men fought stubbornly, working day and night building trendies around the lires and gradually-confining them to a small area. All fires seemed to be under control, when on August 20 a terrific hurricane sprang up, sweeping all the separate fires together and making a gigantic wall of flame many miles long. Many of the fire fighters were directly in the path of the fire. Seventy-nine lighters were killed, and if it had not been for the skill and nerve of the forest rangers in charge of the crews a much larger number would have perished: As it was; nbout half of the number killed lost their lives because of their failure obey the orders of the forest rangers in charge thu parties. Henry S. Graves in a Bulletin of the National Geographic Society. 1 1 I 1 . 1 , 5 1 t ; 7 . 1 r 1 - t 1 s T I r " y s ? t - " ? e i t y u f e II 11 g " 11 " e - it S d - to of e u

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