About the Fires The spring of 1910 was ominously dry throughout Idaho, Washington, and Montana. In the Coeur d’Alene National Forest alone, U.S. Forest Service officials had been battling fires since early April. In July, a rainless electrical storm ignited even more blazes across the Northern Rockies. Bad as it was, conditions got worse. On August 20, a “Palouser” wind whipped through the forests, creating an inferno now known as the Big Burn. The fires took the lives of nearly 90 people, leveled entire communities, burned almost 3 million acres of timber, and set US Forest Service fire policy for the next 6 decades. ?? About the Collection These materials come from the University of Idaho Library's Special Collections and Archives department.