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Jim Kershner’s This day in history

From our archives, 100 years ago

Fears were mounting for the safety of Wallace and of Taft, Mont., because of the numerous forest fires burning in the Coeur d’Alene and Bitterroot ranges

The Spokane Daily Chronicle said that “flames are eating their way down the mountain sides (toward Taft) and it is feared that the concerted efforts of fire fighters can not save the place.”

Wallace was also in a perilous position. The paper reported that a “death-like gloom hangs over Wallace today,” with smoke so dense that visibility was reduced to 200 yards.

“Should a strong wind come up, Wallace, too, would be in immediate danger of being wiped out,” said the paper.

Eight days later, such a wind did spring up, destroying Taft and a third of Wallace.

More from the forest fire beat: Meanwhile, an army general ordered two battalions of troops from the 25th Infantry stationed at Fort George Wright (the famous all-black Buffalo Soldiers) to head to North Idaho and Montana to fight the forest fires.

The troops had been on maneuvers at American Lake near Tacoma.

Also on this date

(From the Associated Press)

1953: The Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb. … 1960: The first balloon communications satellite – the Echo 1 – was launched by the United States from Cape Canaveral.

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