1910 Fire Overview - The Big Blowup of August 20 & 21, 1910 - Begin the exhibit by tapping on the "Start Exhibit" hypertext at the top of this page.
"On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno that jumped from treetop to ridge as it raged, destroying towns and timber in the blink of an eye. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men - college boys, day workers, immigrants from the mining camps - to fight the fire. But no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them." Timothy Egan, The Big Burn
"The Great Fires were unlike any American fire before them, and no wildland fire since has fundamentally differed from the pattern they inscribed. Everything we do in this country with respect to forest fire - from the actual tools firefighters still carry to strategies of land management - is rooted in the way we fought the fires of 1910. Geography, nature, and civilization did battle in 1910 in a crazed, lethal struggle that has become one of the great sagas of Americans and their lands." Stephen J. Pyne, Year of the Fires
This exhibit provides an overview of the Great Fire of 1910, also known as the Big Blowup and as the Big Burn. The story told here focuses on the accounts of the 72 fire fighters and the two people in Wallace who died in the Coeur d' Alene National Forest and St. Joe National Forest on August 20 and 21, 1910. This exhibit uses maps from the US Forest Service and from Stephen J. Pyne's Year of the Fire in conjunction with photographs from the Wallace District Mining Museum collection and the USFS District 1 Archives along with interpretive language by Jim McReynolds to tell this tale.
Begin the exhibit by tapping on the "Start Exhibit" hypertext at the top of this page or by tapping on the "Maps" icon on the left. You can also start elsewhere by using the "Table of Contents" at the top of this page or by tapping any of the icons on the left side of this page. It is best to view the records by tapping the images to ENLARGE them.