The death toll in Australia’s forest fires (see yesterday’s blog) has now reached at least 93, making them the deadliest in the country’s history. Not surprisingly, many firefighters are exhausted, and police say they some suspect some of the fires were started deliberately. Some towns have suffered severe damage, with one burned to the ground, and hundreds of homes have been destroyed.
As I noted yesterday, the number killed, mercifully, is well below that seen in some American forest fires. Apart from the worst of all at Peshtigo in Wisconsin in 1871, up to 1,000 people perished in Minnesota and Wisconsin in October 1918, and perhaps 800 died in 1894 in fires that raged over 160,000 acres of Minnesota, destroying six towns.