The Great Fire of 1910 (also commonly referred to as the Big Blowup) was a wildfire in the western United States that burned three million acres in North Idaho and Western Montana, with extensions into Eastern Washington and Southeast British Columbia, in the summer of 1910. The fire burned over two days on the weekend of August 20–21, after strong winds caused numerous smaller fires to combine into a firestorm of unprecedented size. It was impossible to fight; there were too few men and supplies. The United States Forest Service (then called the National Forest Service) was only five years old at the time and unprepared for the possibilities of the dry summer or a fire of this magnitude. It killed 87 people, 78 of which were firefighters, destroyed numerous manmade structures, including several entire towns, and burned more than three million acres of forest. It is believed to be the largest, forest fire in U.S. history. In response, a fire protection campaign was launched in which the mascot Smokey the Bear was created and fire suppression became the new model for America’s view on fire. Today, we remember all of those who lost their lives in the line of duty.
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