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Major American Fires: Peshtigo Fire- 1871

Peshtigo Fire: Introduction

Image from the November 25, 1871 issue of Harper's Weekly

The Peshtigo Fire occurred around the town of Peshtigo in northeastern Wisconsin on October 8, 1871, the same day that the Great Chicago Fire began. Historically, the Peshtigo Fire has been somewhat overshadowed by the Great Chicago Fire, though the Peshtigo Fire covered a much greater area and had many more fatalities. The Peshtigo Fire burned 1,875 square miles and destroyed twelve communities, killing between 1,200 and 2,500 people. The fire is thought to have been caused by small fires used for land-clearing that blew out of control and created a firestorm.


This video by KRQE News 13 of Albuquerque, NM discusses the events of the fire.

This is a presentation from the Verona Wisconsin Historical Society on the Peshtigo fire.

Online Resources