Cloquet Fire of 1918

On October 12 1918, a massive forest fire raced through northeastern Minnesota from Sturgeon Lake to Lake Superior north of Duluth.

When it was over, this region had suffered through , one of Minnesota's worst disasters.

Weather conditions on October l2, 1918, were rght for the tragedy which ensued. Hot, dry weather had prevailed for several months. Railroads were determined to have started the fires as sparks from the engines ignited dry brush along the tracks. On this day, extremely high winds fanned the fames and sent them roaring through the forests and lumbermills of the region.

The 1918 Cloquet-Moose Lake Fire destroyed 38 communities in northeastern Minnesota. At feast 450 people were killed in the blaze, and over 52,000 people were either injured or displacedby the fire. Property damage was valued at over $73 million.

"At 6 o'clock last night, a forest ranger gave warning that unless the wind died down the townspeople would have to flee...The scene at the station was indescribable. There came a rush of wind and the entire town was in flames. The trains pulled out with the fires blazing closely behind them. Women wept and clung to their children, while others cried frantically for their missing ones. The flames licked at the cars. Windows in the coaches were broken by the heat. The engineers and firemen alternately stoked, to give the boilers all the fuel they could stand."”

— Albert Michaud