The wildfires of 1910: Climatology of an extreme early twentieth-century event and comparison with more recent extremes

Henry F. Diaz, Thomas W. Swetnam

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Great Fire of 1910 was a wildfire that burned about three million acres in northeast Washington, northern Idaho, and western Montana. Accidental fires were also common, especially from sparks along railways from wood-burning locomotives. The fledgling Forest Service had a tiny force of rangers with the responsibility for detecting and suppressing wildfires over enormous and remote areas. The national forests increased by 16 million acres in 1907 by executive order of Theodore Roosevelt in the last days of his presidency. The largest burned areas were in the northern Rockies and particularly in Idaho, where most fatalities occurred. March 1910 was an exceptionally warm month, as illustrated by the spatial pattern and magnitude of the temperature departure from the long-term average and the time series of area-weighted mean temperature over the contiguous US.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1361-1370
Number of pages10
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Volume94
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science

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