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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Fire commemorations across the region

Idaho and Montana communities are planning events for the 1910 fires anniversary. For a longer list, visit centennial/events-links.html. The Historical Museum at Fort Missoula

Forest fire, the largest in U.S. history, left stories of awe, tragedy

Today, we can imagine the smoke – thick and suffocating. We can fathom the flames – causing mountains and towns to glow red at midnight. We can even imagine the heat, enough to peel paint off boxcars. Yet there's one thing the survivors said was impossible for anyone to imagine: The roar.

Q-and-A: Timothy Egan

Timothy Egan, Spokane-bred winner of a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award, tackled the subject of the 1910 fires in his most recent bestseller, “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt & The Fire That Saved America” (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).

Burning Memories

Spot fires flared in the streets as families fled Wallace. For days, the city’s residents thought they might escape the forest fires blazing in the mountains around them. But by the evening of Aug. 20, 1910, gale-force winds were pelting the town with glowing embers.

Forest fire in 1910 ruined Grand Forks

The town of Grand Forks was populated by railroad workers and scalawags of every type who enjoyed and profited from all the vices. It was said that Taft, Mont., was the toughest town in the West until Grand Forks, Idaho, developed. Grand Forks was built in 1908, during the earliest days of the construction of this segment of the Milwaukee Road, near the confluence of Loop and Cliff Creeks. The town was about a half-mile down the slope of Loop Creek Canyon from the railroad depot and siding at Falcon. That was where the Milwaukee delivered supplies for Grand Forks; it’s now a wayside on the Route of the Hiawatha recreation trail.

Prescribed burns could reduce carbon emissions, study finds

Western land managers could shrink the carbon footprint of wildfires by setting more prescribed burns, a new study says. Igniting small, controlled fires reduces fuel buildup in the forest, helping to stave off the catastrophic fires that release millions of tons of carbon, according to research by the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo.

Egan’s ‘Big Burn’ selected for 2010’s Spokane Is Reading

Timothy Egan’s latest book, “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America,” has been chosen as the Spokane Is Reading book for 2010. It’s the true story of the catastrophic 1910 fires in Idaho, Montana and Washington.

Rail route tunnels saved lives in big fire

One of the most popular recreation areas in North Idaho is the Route of the Hiawatha, a 15-mile biking and hiking trail on the abandoned roadbed of the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad. The area is managed by the Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area under a special-use permit from the U.S. Forest Service. In 1935 the railroad began passenger service from Chicago to the West Coast with a series of speedy trains, all named Hiawatha. The trail is named for the most famous of those, the Olympian Hiawatha, which passed over the route daily between 1947 and 1961.

Forest Van Dorn

Next August marks the 100th anniversary of the 1910 Fire, which swept across 3 million acres in Idaho, Washington and Montana during a two-day firestorm. At least 85 people – many of them firefighters – were killed in the blaze, testing the mettle of the newly formed Forest Service. Most of the fatalities occurred in Shoshone County. Forest Van Dorn is chairman of a volunteer committee in Idaho’s Silver Valley that is organizing events for the August anniversary. Q.Why is remembering the 1910 Fire so important?