On this day: the Peshtigo Fire

The Peshtigo Fire occurred on the 8th of October, 1871 in and around Peshtigo, Wisconsin. It was the deadliest fire in US history.

The Peshtigo Fire occurred on the 8th of October, 1871 in and around Peshtigo, Wisconsin. It was the deadliest fire in US history.

Because a number of fires struck the United States on the same day that year this one is largely forgotten, overshadowed by the far more famous – but not as deadly – Great Chicago Fire.

The 1871 Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin and Michigan

The Peshtigo fire took at least 1500 lives, but may have taken as many as 2500. It is hard to determine an exact number, as local records were destroyed in the disaster.

Peshtigo 1871 before te fire 19th century su history wisconsin

Peshtigo shortly before the fire.

As with many fires around that time – and just as it is today – the cause was a combination of drought, hot temperatures and strong winds, joining to create a firestorm. However there is little specific detail available, and what information there is available is largely from journal entries of the time.

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