FIRESTORM AT PESHTIGO by DENISE GESS AND WILLIAM LUTZ

May 31, 2014 at 1:55 am Leave a comment

I don’t often reread books, yet I hold onto every book I’ve read. I sometimes wander into my study and study the spines of the volumes that make of my many stacks and recall fragments of the stories they contain.   One book I decided to revisit is Firestorm at Peshtigo, the true story of an unprecedented tragic event.

Peshtigo, Wisconsin, north of Green Bay, and 262 miles from Chicago experienced the worst fire in American history. The fire burned and grew slowly for some time, but reached its full destructive force on October 8, 1871, the same time that Chicago was experiencing its famous conflagration.

The Chicago fire cost approximately 300 lives. Peshtigo’s death toll, from the town and surrounding countryside, will never fully be known. Estimates reach 2500. The population of Peshtigo was 2000, only 200 survived. Many victims simply disappeared, reduced to a pile of ashes and the ashes dispersed by the wind. People seeking refuge in clearings either suffocated in the oxygen-deprived atmosphere or simply burst into flame from the unbelievable heat.

The cause of the fire was multifaceted. The weather had been extremely dry. Farmers were in the process of clearing land using the most common method at that time, fire. The winds in the area were known to be treacherous. Twenty-four thousand square miles burned.

The book will captivate and hold your interest and cause you to wonder at the pain and suffering of the victims and survivors.

Entry filed under: OBSERVATIONS & OPINIONS, READER'S OPPORTUNITIES, Walt Trizna, WALT'S OPINIONS. Tags: , , , , .

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