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Hinckley, Minnesota, Fire (1894)

  • By: Stephen T. Schroth & Daniel O. Gonshorek
  • In: Encyclopedia of Disaster Relief
  • Edited by: K. Bradley Penuel & Matt Statler
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Policy (general)

On September 1, 1894, two forest fires converged on Hinckley, Minnesota, causing one of the greatest losses of life in that state's history. The Hinckley Fire, centered in Pine County, caused between 400 and 800 deaths, making it the second-deadliest fire in Minnesota history, trailing only the 1918 Cloquet Fire. Striking after a two-month drought, the Hinkley Fire is significant for the speed with which it burned and the intensity of its destruction. While Oregon's 2002 Biscuit Fire, for example, took more than a week to consume its first 350,000 acres, the Hinckley Fire burned that amount of land in just five hours, and efforts by local fire departments were ineffective. The Hinckley Fire was so intense that it created weather patterns, causing hurricane-strength ...

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