It was in 1910 after “The Big Burn” or the Big Blow up in Northern
Idaho, that fire tactics changed. That fire killed 78 firefighters.
August 20, 1910 was the “day the mountains roared.” This was the first
great firefight by the US Forest Service. “The idea of fire protection
on public lands meant firefighting was, in 1910, a novelty.” (Stephen
Pyne, The Big Blow Up.)
Prior to this, fires swept through whole towns and destroyed them.
The biggest of those early fires was the Firestorm at Peshtigo (c. 2002,
Denise Gess and William Lutz.) It took place in Wisconsin on Green Bay
and started the same night, October 9, 1871, as the Great Chicago Fire.
Before it was finished, it would become the deadliest fire in the United
States. It took out 2400 square miles before it was done.
On September 1, 1894 two fire converged on the town on Hinckley
Minnesota and ultimately killed 400 people. It gave birth to federal
agencies that monitored and fought fires. (Brown, Daniel James, c.2006,
Under A Flaming Sky.)