In light of the recent Oregon wildfires which have caused massive mayhem, with more than half a million people fleeing the U.S. State of Oregon in the wake of the deadly wildfires. Let’s take a look at the 5 worst wildfires in history which left great devastation and the reasons behind them.
1) Miramichi Fire, 1825
The Miramichi Fire, 1825, was a massive wildfire in history that devastated forests and communities throughout much of northern New Brunswick. It is among the three largest forest fires ever recorded in North America. The cause of the blaze is partly attributed to abnormally hot weather in the summer and fall of 1825, coupled with outdoor fires by settlers and loggers.
2) Black Dragon Fire, 1987
The Black Dragon fire of China, also known as the 1987 Daxing’anling fire was one of the biggest wildfires in history. A fire that began on May 6, 1987, did not stop until the 2nd of June 1987. That’s one whole month of burning and it was so huge that also spread into the soviet union.
The fire was started by an 18-year-old worker who accidentally ignited gas which spilt from his brush cutter. As you could imagine, both the worker and his employer were jailed. Sadly the fire destroyed many million hectares of forest and made thousands homeless.
3) The Great Chicago Fire, 1871
Another one on our list of wildfires in history is The Great Chicago Fire. It was a destructive fire that burned in the city of Chicago during October 8-10 in 1871. There have been several speculations over the start of the fire, however, the fire is claimed to have started on October 8, in or around a small barn which belonged to the O’Leary family that bordered the alley behind 137 Dekoven Street.
The most popular speculation over the start of the fire blames Mrs O’Leary’s cow, who allegedly knocked over a lantern, while others speculate that a group of men were gambling inside the barn and knocked over a lantern. Another speculation suggests that the blaze was related to other fires in the Midwest that day.
4) The Peshtigo Fire, 1871
The Peshtigo Fire took place on October 8, 1871, and is also one of the deadliest recorded wildfires in history. It occurred in Northeastern Wisconsin, on the same day as The Great Chicago Fire. It is largely forgotten even though its death toll was higher. The worst affected community was Peshtigo, Wisconsin.
The setting of small fires was a common way to clear forest land for farming and railroad construction. On the day of the Peshtigo fire, a firestorm ensued when a cold front moved in from the west which brought in strong winds that fanned the fires out of control and resulted in their escalation.
5) Camp Fire, 2018
Ranked 13th in worlds deadliest wildfires in history, Camp Fire is recorded as the deadliest and single most destructive fire in modern history. It is also one of the most destructive fires in US history for over 100 years. It is named after Camp Creek road from which it had originated in California.
The fire started on November 8, 2018, and took 17 days to contain causing damages worth over 16 billion US Dollars. Sadly fire killed over 80 people and injured 12 including firefighters.
Although the drought was a factor, the fire was said to have originated above several communities due to a faulty electric transmission line and an east wind drove the fire downhill and through the developed areas.
Netflix produced a documentary titled Fire in Paradise in 2019.