Friday, October 8, 2021

Something About Twisted Fire Starters

Danger illustrated.

October is fire prevention month and this time around it’s also the 150th anniversary of a spectacular night of fires.
  • The Great Chicago Fire burned between October 8–10, 1871, and killed approximately 300 people.  It destroyed roughly 3.3 square miles of the city and left more than 100,000 residents homeless.  
  • The Peshtigo fire, on Oct. 8, 1871, in northeastern Wisconsin impacted much of the southern half of the Door Peninsula and adjacent parts of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Its destruction was much worse than Chicago, burning about 1.2 million acres and causing well over 1,500 deaths.
  • The Great Michigan Fire (same night!) impacted several cities, towns, and villages, including Alpena, Holland, Manistee, and Port Huron, causing severe damage or outright destruction.
All these Midwest fires make me wonder if the families of a young Florence Zimmermann or Isaac Izard were impacted by this destruction which eventually altered their upbringing in some way, be it minor or major.

Readers will also recall the fallen meteor discussed as length in The Beast Under the Wizard’s Bridge (2000).  What if these fires were caused by something high in the sky?  Well, that’s a thing, too, or so says the geniuses at work writing Wikipedia:
 A fringe theory links together several major fires that occurred simultaneously in America, claiming that they were caused by fragments of Biela's Comet striking the Earth, in October 1871. The theory was first proposed by Ignatius L. Donnelly in 1883 and revived in a 1985 book.  Experts dispute such a scenario - meteorites in fact are cold to the touch when they reach the Earth's surface, and there are no credible reports of any fire anywhere having been started by a meteorite.
Looks like I chose the wrong month to celebrate things with fireworks.

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