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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Big Burn of 1910

Three million acres burned. At least 85 people killed. The towns of Grand Forks and Taft obliterated. The town of Wallace nearly destroyed. Jim Kershner looks back at the forest fires of 1910 in Idaho and Montana, the largest in United States history.

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Footloose on the St. Joe

Starting on the Bitterroot Divide on the Montana-Idaho border, Outdoors editor Rich Landers and David Moershel of Spokane hike to the source of the St. Joe River in the heart of a region scorched by the 1910 forest fires. They anointed themselves in the holy water above St. Joe Lake and continued downstream to explore and fish about 30 miles of river through the roadless section of Idaho's famous trout stream.

Owl Hoot event Saturday in CdA

Owls and the 1910 fires is the topic of the third annual Owl Hoot program Saturday in Coeur d’Alene. The event runs from 6 p.m. to 7:30 at the Bureau of Land Management’s Blackwell Island Recreation site on U.S. Highway 95 at the Spokane River just south of town.

Examining the legacy of the 1910 fires

One hundred years after the nation’s largest wildfires blazed across the Northern Rockies, blackening hillsides as far as the eye could see, the question lingers: Could the Big Burn happen again?

Q-and-A: Author Stephen Pyne

Stephen Pyne, a history professor at Arizona State University, has written extensively about the 1910 Fire. His books include “Fire in America” and “Year of the Fires,” which describe how the nation’s largest wildfire shaped the Forest Service’s perception of fires for decades to come.

Great Burn Wilderness remains subject of debate

The 1910 fires – and significant wildfires that followed into the 1930s – had a devastating hand in bestowing rugged portions of the Bitterroot Mountains with new life.

First-person narratives recall terror of 1910 fire

Aug. 20, 1910, was a night of terror for isolated settlers, prospectors and fire crews scattered in the mountains of North Idaho, Western Montana and Eastern Washington. Without radio communication or Weather Service bulletins, the nation’s largest fire storm caught many by surprise.

Fire crews drew heavily from immigrants, laborers

George Earle was looking for work. The 30-year-old English immigrant had recently arrived in Spokane by foot from Alberta, following the railroad tracks into a new country. An ex-solider and ranch hand, he was a veteran of both South Africa’s Boer War and the grinding physical labor of daily farm life.

Pulaski’s heroism resurfaced with discovery of tunnel

Follow a two-mile trail up Placer Creek, and you come to the Pulaski Tunnel – a legendary part of the 1910 Fire story. It was here that Big Ed Pulaski ordered 45 firefighters into a mine shaft on the night of Aug. 20, and told them to lie face down.

Pulaski’s legacy alive in standard fire tool

Every soot-smudged wildland firefighter knows the name pulaski – even if they don’t know the man Pulaski. That’s because Ed Pulaski cemented his legacy when he welded the head of a mattock (or grubbing hoe) onto an axe head.

Bike trail cuts through heart of 1910 burn area

Last summer, 33,000 mountain bikers from all over the world rode the Route of the Hiawatha. This summer’s crowds are on track to break that record. The parking area at the East Portal will soon be doubled to handle the throngs.