Special Report

The 13 Most Destructive Wildfires in US History

3. Miramichi Fire of 1825
> Total acreage estimated: 3+ million acres
> Area affected: New Brunswick and Maine
> Date: October 1825
> Acres burned equivalent: Roughly the size of Connecticut

The Great Fire of Miramichi was a massive forest fire that devastated communities in the upper East Coast. At least 160 people died in the blaze and thousands were left homeless as the fire tore through lumber camps on both sides of the Miramichi river. The fire spilled over into Canada and eventually helped define the border between the U.S. and its neighbor to the North.

Source: Erich Schlegel / Getty Images

2. 2011 Texas Wildfire
> Total acreage estimated: 4+ million acres
> Area affected: Central and Southern Texas
> Date: April to September 2011
> Acres burned equivalent: One fourth of South Carolina

This was the worst fire season in the history of Texas, with over 31,000 fires spanning 4 million acres, which was double the previous record. The fire losses were the worst in Texas history and only compounded the $5.2 billion damage caused by the severe drought of that year.

Source: David McNew / Getty Images News via Getty Images

1. 2020 California Wildfires
> Total acreage estimated: 4.4 million acres
> Area affected: California and Southern Oregon
> Date: February to December 2020
> Acres burned equivalent: Three times the size of Delaware

The 2020 wildfire season in California was considered the worst in U.S. history. Nearly 10,000 fires raged across the state, affecting over 4 million acres, or roughly 4% of the entire state. These fires destroyed over 11,000 structures and caused just over $12 billion in damage, consisting of $10 billion in property damage and $2 billion in fire suppression costs.

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