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Just Ask Us: How does Wisconsin’s largest wildfire compare to the big ones burning in California?

August 20, 2018

Q: How does Wisconsin’s largest wildfire compare to the big ones burning in California?

A: The largest wildfire in California history has so far burned about 335,000 acres — more than 865,000 acres less than the largest wildfire in Wisconsin history.

On Oct. 8, 1871, 1.2 million acres burned around the waters of Green Bay as part of the Peshtigo Fire, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

The Peshtigo fire was also the deadliest fire in U.S. history, killing about 1,200 when it burned through at least 17 towns on both sides of Green Bay, according to the DNR.

Peshtigo was the hardest-hit community, with an estimated 800 dead.

It’s unclear what caused the fire, according to the DNR, but it’s been said that it was caused by railroad workers clearing land to lay tracks.

More recent large Wisconsin wildfires include the 2013 Germann Road Fire, which torched nearly 7,500 acres in Douglas and Bayfield counties, and the 2005 Cottonville Fire, which burned about 3,400 acres in Adams County.

The Mendocino Complex Fire in California had charred more than 335,000 acres as of midday Sunday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. That fire has been burning since late July.

Another California wildfire burning since late July, the Carr Fire, had burned more than 227,000 acres, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported.

Those two fires have also destroyed more than 1,800 buildings. In addition, the Carr Fire has caused the deaths of two firefighters, according to the forestry and fire protection department.

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