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A good case could be made for predicting a calamitous forest fire that would ravage the relatively unscathed, lush timber stands of the Northwest. Some people shrugged and lamented that one could never predict much of the future. But regardless of what people thought, 1910 was to be the year of what some termed the "big blowup" of the "big burn," or the "time when the mountains roared."
A series of 1,736 fires ravaged three million acres and killed eighty-five people. With abnormally low amounts of precipitation and soaring high temperatures, disaster threatened imminently, and the undermanned, underequipped national forest service did not help the situation.