It was the largest fire in American history: by the time it was all over, more than three million acres had burned and at least 78 firefighters were dead.
The coal miners' battle for dignity led to the largest armed insurrection since the American Civil War.
They were the first to brave the unknown.
In 1960, the U.S. Forest Service started keeping detailed records of damage caused by wildfires. During the first 40 years of record keeping, between 1960 and 1999, wildfires destroyed nearly 141 million acres of land in the United States. Between 2000 and 2013, nearly 161 million acres were consumed by wildfires -- more in 13 years than in the previous 40 years, combined. Changes in Forest Service policy and an increase in the number of American homes built in or near wild lands offer insight into this upward trend in wildfire occurrence and damage.
My American Experience
Have you survived a wildfire, a hurricane, or another disastrous force of nature? Tell us your story.
Nestled beside an ad for mayonnaise in the July 1956 edition of the Woman's Home Companion, ecologist Rachel Carson pens an appeal to mothers to foster an interest of the natural world in their children. She reassures even the most skeptical matriarch that "exploring nature with your child is largely a matter of becoming receptive to what lies all around you."