October’s Northern California wildfires were the most destructive in California history. The fires caused more than $3.3 billion in property losses that included 8,900 homes and structures.
Record heat that brought drought in California, Montana, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington smothered the states in fire, smoke, and ash. In Montana, wildfires burned through communities on its way to scorching more than one million acres of land. However, the California wildfires were particularly devastating, resulting in the deaths of at least 42 people, which ranks the natural disaster as the ninth deadliest forest fire of all time in the United States. It took until the end of October for fires to be fully contained.
Today’s infographic explores the 10 deadliest U.S. fires and their causes before that, including the worst forest fire of all time, the Great Peshtigo Fire. In 1871, the Midwest fire consumed significant portions of Wisconsin and Michigan. It started near a series of sawmills and factories that housed flammables, and took down wooden houses and 1,200-2,400 of their owners.
Deforestation, forest mismanagement, and accelerating climate change have created a deadly stew that signals trouble for America’s forests and plains, and the residents who have homes there.
To learn more about home fires and how to better protect yourself from them click here.