history The Worst Wildfires in US History  

Drake Bird
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Wiping out millions of acres of land and killing hundreds, the worst wildfires in US history are some of the worst natural disasters to ever hit the country. Though not all were caused by natural means, with some set by arsonists or created by abandoned campfires, each devastated large areas of land, wiped out buildings, and caused fatalities. What are the most major wildfires and major forest fires in the history of America? Read on to find out more!

Though modern times have seen large fires, especially in California and Texas in the past few years, the worst fires ever seen in the United States took place over 100 years ago. The deadliest, the 1871 Peshtigo Fire, claimed 2,500 lives while the largest was the Great Fire of 1910, burning three million acres of land.

As shown in these famous wildfires, many if not all incidents of tragedy, wildfires are very dangerous and can claim lives just like the worst tornadoes ever. Fortunately, as the old slogan states, forest fires can be prevented. What are the worst wildfires in history? Take a look at this list of wildfires and you'll find out for yourself.

If you're curious about things like the biggest fire in history and other kinds of natural disasters, check out more lists like Worst Earthquakes of All TimeMost Devastating Global Famines and Droughts, Most Shocking Tornadoes.
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Murphy Complex Fire is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Worst Wildfires in US History
Photo: via Wikimedia

Murphy Complex Fire


Spreading through the states of Idaho and Nevada, the Murphy Complex Fire burned an estimated 653,000 acres of land in 2007. The same area was subject to another fire, which spread into Mexico, in June 2011.
2004 Taylor Complex Fire is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Worst Wildfires in US History
Photo: via Wikimedia

2004 Taylor Complex Fire


The Taylor Complex Fire was part of a record-breaking 2004 fire season in Alaska that burned a combined 6.6 million acres. This fire accounted for 1.3 million acres alone, making it the single largest wildfire in the United States during the period of 1997 to 2007.
Yellowstone Fires of 1988 is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Worst Wildfires in US History
Photo: via Pinterest

Yellowstone Fires of 1988


Caused from a number of smaller fires that burned out of control, the Yellowstone Fires of 1988 shut down the national part completely for several months and destroyed 793,880 acres or roughly 36% of the park. Over 9,000 firefighters attempted to control the blaze but the effort was a losing one with the fire allowed to burn out. It eventually was ended by a snowstorm that hit the area.
Great Fire of 1910 is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Worst Wildfires in US History
Photo: via Reddit

Great Fire of 1910


Believed to be the largest fire in U.S. history, the Great Fire of 1910 burned over two days from August 21 and August 21, 1910, in the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana. An estimated three million acres of land were burned by the blaze and 87 people were killed.