Montana December 18, 2017
One Of The Worst Disasters In U.S. History Happened Right Here In Montana
Sadly, Montana is no stranger to disasters, natural and otherwise. From our numerous blizzards to the
Smith Mining disaster, our state history is littered with some unpleasantries. But not natural disaster can quite compare with the tragic Great Fire of 1910.
The fire, which is often called the Big Blowup, the Big Burn, or the Devil's Broom fire, started after a brutally dry summer in Western Montana.
The fire season started early in 1910, and the drought didn't help matters.
By mid-August, there were up to 3,000 fires burning in Idaho, Montana, Washington, and British Columbia.
Smoke from the blaze was seen as far east as Watertown, New York, and as far south as Denver. Ships were having trouble navigating by the stars as far out as 500 miles due to the smoky skies.
Everything blew up (literally) on August 20. A cold front blew in and brought hurricane-force winds, turning the hundreds of small fires into one giant blazing inferno.
There were too little people and too few supplies to properly fight the fire. Even the United States Forest Service was unprepared -- it was only five years old at the time. Eventually, President William Howard Taft sent the U.S. Army, 25th Infantry Regiment to help.
By the end of the ordeal, the fire had claimed 85 lives, and three million acres were burned.
Several towns in the Treasure State were also destroyed, including Haugan, Taft and De Borgia.
A memorial to the brave firefighters who lost their lives is located in St. Maries, Idaho.
The fire is one of the worst disasters in our history.
We’re thankful for the modern advances that have made forest fires a bit easier to fight since the Fire of 1910. Here are some other
little-known trivia facts about the Treasure State.