Why You Don't Know About The Deadliest Fire In U.S. History

By Karen Harris
People seeking refuge in the Peshtigo River, 1871. (G. J. Tisdale/Wikimedia Commons)

The deadliest wildfire in U.S. history claimed approximately 2,500 lives and destroyed more than 1.2 million acres of a Wisconsin logging town, but you've probably never heard of it. The Peshtigo Fire of 1871 tends to be overlooked in the history books, mostly because it happened on the same day as a much more famous fire—likely no coincidence.