The Billings Gazette article brought to mind a post I wrote awhile back about using disasters as a way to engage students in larger questions.
- Tales of the 1910 Fire is an exhibit, including a first-hand account of the fires by a forest ranger, created by Archives & Special Collections, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library.
- The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes' "Fire of the Land" website is a great resource in itself and includes links to many additional resources.
- The US Forest Service has gathered information on the history of smoke jumping.
- The Great 1910 Fire is a website that has transcribed newspaper articles, lists of fire victims and photographs.
Interested in changes how fire policy has changed since 1910? We created this bibliography for National History Day students, but it’s a good starting point for any researcher. Other interesting sources include:
- NOVA’s Fire Wars
- National Park Service Fire Timelin
- “Forest Fire in Washington State”
- Three articles from the Missoulian, all by Shery Devlin: “Mountains of Fire,” August 20, 2000; “Menace in Waiting,” August 21, 2000; “Check with Reality,” August 22, 2000. To find these online type “Big Burn of 1910 Sherry Devlin” into the Missoulian’s “Advanced Search.”
As I’m sure you know—probably better than I—one of the reasons fire-fighting is so expensive today is the “Wildland Urban Interface” (in other words, people have increasingly built homes in the woods.) When homes are threatened, the state and federal government pull out the stops to protect them. What should the government’s approach toward fire protection be in the Wildland-Urban Interface? This has been a hot button issue in past years, and will likely continue to be debated. Consider asking students to research and then write (and/or present) policy briefs to your local legislator and/or county commissioners. (Former middle school teacher Jim Schulz said having students present decision-makers with their research—and proposed solutions—to current problems was the all-time best activity he ever did with his students.)