25 Most Destructive Wildfires Ever Recorded By Mankind


May 2nd, 2016   |   Updated on September 17th, 2021

The forests of Uttarakhand have been burning for over a week now. Of late, the government has taken steps to combat the flames of the forests.

World over, forest fires are an yearly phenomenon, which are usually triggered by lightning or accidents that most times are caused by irresponsible people.  It’s a trend that comes as no surprise for many climate scientists, who see forest fires as one of the effects of global warming. The consequences of an unmanageable wildfire can be terrifying, chaotic, and devastating.

Throughout history, there have been some truly horrifying wildfires. So, find below the 25 most destructive fires that were ever recorded by mankind. We hope that this look back can help you understand the huge damage that wildfires inflict on our mother planet .

Watch out 25 most destructive wildfires ever recorded in history:

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We’ve collected 25 Most Destructive Wildfires Ever Recorded In History. Check them out below:

25. The 1921 Mari Wildfires

The 1921 Mari Wildfires

Wildfires in the Mari Autonomous Oblast, in the east of European Russia, occurred in the summer of 1921. Damage included 2,660 square kilometres of pine forest burned off.


24. The Wallow Fire

The Wallow Fire

The fire was started by an abandoned campfire on June 26, 2011. It burned about 841 square miles (2,180 km2) in the Apache, Greenlee, Graham, and Navajo counties in Arizona and Catron County in New Mexico.


23. The Great Porcupine Fire

The Great Porcupine Fire

The Great porcupine Fire of 1911 was one of the most devastating forest fires ever to strike the Ontario northland. It is estimated that due to the wildfire more than 500,000 acres of forest were completely burned and at least seventy people died.


22. The Black Dragon Fire

The Black Dragon Fire

The Black Dragon Fire was a massive wildfire that occurred in China and the Soviet Union during May of 1987. It was one of the largest wildfires ever to occur, and the largest to strike China in over 300 years. Over two hundred died in the fires and hundreds more were injured.


21. The Great Miramichi Fire

The Great Miramichi Fire

October 07, 1825 was a sad day for everyone on the Miramichi.  It was the day of the great Miramichi Fire.  This was a fire that destroyed six thousand square miles of land in the Miramichi area, in the span of eight hours.


20. The Great Thumb Fire

The Great Thumb Fire

The great Thumb fire took place on September 5, 1881, in the Thumb area of Michigan in the United States. The fire, which burned over a million acres (4,000 km²) in less than a day, was the consequence of drought, hurricane-force winds, heat, the after-effects of the Port Huron Fire of 1871, and the ecological damage wrought by the era’s logging techniques.


19. The Yarnell Hill Fire

The Yarnell Hill Fire

The Yarnell Hill Fire was a wildfire near Yarnell, Arizona, ignited by lightning on June 28, 2013. On June 30, it overran and killed 19 City of Prescott firefighters, members of the Granite Mountain Hotshots.


18. The Hamburg Fire

The Hamburg Fire

The Hamburg fire of 1842 was the worst disaster the German city suffered in the nineteenth century, where about a quarter of the inner city was destroyed, fifty-one people lost their lives, and an estimated twenty thousand lost their property.


17. The Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 that destroyed a big part of the downtown area killed more than three hundred people and left about 100,000 citizens homeless.


16. The Mount Carmel Forest Fire

The Mount Carmel Forest Fire

The 2010 Mount Carmel forest fire, also known as “The Carmel Disaster,” was a deadly forest fire that started on Mount Carmel in northern Israel, just south of Haifa. More than seventeen thousand people were evacuated, including those from several villages in the vicinity, and there was considerable property and environmental damage.


15. The Great Matheson Fire

The Great Matheson Fire

The Great Matheson Fire was a deadly forest fire that passed through the region surrounding the communities of Black River-Matheson and Iroquois Falls in Ontario, Canada, on July 29, 1916.


14. The 2007 Greek Forest Fires

The 2007 Greek Forest Fires

The 2007 Greek forest fires were a series of massive forest fires that broke out in several areas across Greece throughout the summer of 2007


13. The Great Hinckley Fire of 1894

The Great Hinckley Fire of 1894

A great firestorm consumed and destroyed Hinckley and five smaller communities. An estimated area of at least 200,000 acres was completely wiped out and at least 418 people lost their lives.


12. The 1918 Cloquet Fire

The 1918 Cloquet Fire

This is considered to be the worst natural disaster in Minnesota history in terms of the number of lives lost in a single day. In total, 453 people died while fifty-two thousand were injured or displaced.


11. The 1947 Texas City Disaster

The 1947 Texas City Disaster

A giant explosion that occurred while fertilizer was being loading onto the freighter Grandcamp at a pier in Texas City, Texas, on April 16, 1947, cost the lives of nearly six hundred people while thousands more were injured. Additionally, the explosion caused $100 million in damage.


10. The Big Burn (1910)

The Big Burn (1910)

The Great Fire of 1910 also known as the Big Blowup, the Big Burn, and the Devil’s Broom fire, was a wildfire that incinerated an incredible three million acres and expanded in three different states: Montana, Idaho, and Washington. The firestorm burned over two days and killed eighty-seven people, mostly firefighters.


9. Black Saturday Bushfires

Black Saturday Bushfires

The Black Saturday Bushfires is the name given to the bushfires which started on the 7th of February 2009 in Victoria, Australia. The weather conditions on the day were some of the worst bushfire weather conditions ever recorded. Temperatures reached 46 degrees celsius with winds in excess of 100km per hour.


8. The 2010 Dhaka Fire

The 2010 Dhaka Fire

The 2010 Dhaka fire was a fire in the city of Dhaka, Bangladesh, on 3 June 2010 that killed at least 124 people (117 on spot, others later in hospital). The fire occurred in the Nimtali area of Old Dhaka.


7. The Great Fire of Montreal

The Great Fire of Montreal

The Great Fire of 1852 was a fire in Montreal that began on July 8, 1852, and left as many as 10,000 people homeless, at a time when the city’s population was only 57,000, and destroyed almost half of the city’s housing.


6. The Great Medieval Fire of London (1212)

The Great Medieval Fire of London

The second of the two great medieval fires of London (the first was in 1135), also known as “the Great Fire of Southwark,” was undoubtedly one of the deadliest and most catastrophic of this period. It began on July 10, 1212, in Southwark, the borough directly to the south of London Bridge, and according to various estimations more than three thousand people were killed on London Bridge alone.


5. Kursha-2 Firestorm

Kursha-2 Firestorm

Kursha-2 was the name for the Soviet community in the Central Meshchyora, Ryazan Oblast. It was built soon after the October Revolution for the exploitation of the local forests, and was annihilated by a firestorm on August 3, 1936.


4. The Great Peshtigo Fire

The Great Peshtigo Fire

On the evening of October 8, 1871, the worst recorded forest fire in North America raged through northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, destroying millions of dollars’ worth of property and timberland, and killing about two thousand people.


3. The Great Fire of Rome

The Great Fire of Rome

The Great Fire of Rome was an urban fire that started on the night between 18 and 19 July in the year 64 AD. It caused widespread devastation, before being brought under control after six days.


2. The Great Fire of Smyrna

The Great Fire of Smyrna

The great fire of Smyrna or the catastrophe of Smyrna destroyed much of the port city of Smyrna in September 1922. Eyewitness reports state that the fire began on 13 September 1922 and lasted until it was largely extinguished on 22 September.


1. The Great Fire of Meireki

The Great Fire of Meireki

The Great Fire of Meireki, also known as the Furisode Fire, destroyed 60–70% of the Japanese capital city of Edo on March 2, 1657, the third year of the Meireki Imperial era.

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