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Peshtigo Fire: October 8, 1871

Oct 08, 2017 05:24PM ● Published by Gene Kirschbaum

Gallery: Wildfires: 1930 - 2000 [1 Image] Click any image to expand.

Here's Smokey the Beaver, observing the 146th anniversary of the Peshtigo Fire, the deadliest wildfire in our history (burning 1.2 million acres and killing 1500 to 2500 people).  Coincidentally, the Peshtigo Fire happened on the exact same day as the Great Chicago Fire (burning 2000 acres and killing about 300 people).

Some academics have provided "research" indicating that global warming is causing increasing numbers and severity of wildfires in the US.  Contrary to this generally accepted myth, Smokey the Bear has actually been incredibly successful at preventing forest fires.  See the graph above showing the average number of acres burned has dropped precipitously from 1930 to 1960 and that for the last 50 years the burned acreage has stabilized between 2 and 10 million per year.  (Hooray for Smokey!!!)

Wildfires scorched 40-50 million acres a year during the 1930s, making fire control a national priority. By 1960, the area burned annually had been reduced by 90 percent. But wildfires are again gaining ground on federal lands. [Source: USFS Wildland Fire Statistics] Congressional failure to attack the two primary underlying causes--disease and stand density--is making a bad situation worse. (Courtesy: Idahoforests.org)

History of Smokey The Bear:

Smokey The Bear

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