The year 1910 was a strange one for many people in northern Idaho and western Montana. The superstitious, and some of the religious, saw portents of weird, calamitous events to come as fiery Haley's Comet zoomed on spectacular paths across the heavens. A good case could be made for predicting a calamitous forest fire that would ravage the heretofore relatively unscathed, lush timber stands of the Northwest. Other people shrugged and lamented that one could never predict much of the future because Lady Luck was so damnably fickle. But regardless of what people thought, feared, or guessed - or didn't bother to think or fear or guess - 1910 was to be the year of what some termed the "big blowup," or the "big burn," or the "time when the mountains roared." It was a seriest of 1,736 fires that ravaged three million acres and killed eighty-five, possibly eighty-seven, people, particularly during August 20 and 21 0 the two most grueling days of searing hell. And the undermanned, underequipped national forests did not help the situation. With abnormally low amounts of precipitation and soaring, high temperatures, disaster threatened imminently.--back cover.
by Don Miller and Stan Cohen.
First printing, 1978 ; second printing, 1980 ; first printing, revised, 1993.