About 90 percent of wildfires are started because of humans. Whether intentional or unintentional, these fires generally begin from campfires which are not properly attended or extinguished, discarded cigarettes, and sometimes arsonists. Natural wildfires (the remaining 10 percent) are started by lightning or lava. There are several classifications of wildfires, that include brush fire, desert fire, grass fire, forest fire, and more. Wildfire can spread quickly and do a lot of damage (as seen by the recent California wildfires that are ravaging the west coast of the United States). What are some of the most deadly wildfires in history? Here is a list of just some of the deadliest wildfires to wreak havoc throughout the world:

Some of the Worst Wildfires Across the World

USA

The absolute worst fire in the history of the United States (based on both size and fatalities) is the Great Peshtigo Fire. It burned 3.8 million acres and killed 1,500+ people from October 8-14, 1871. The most likely cause of the fire was unattended fires at logging camps.

Australia

Known as the Black Saturday Fire, this one is probably the largest wildfire in modern world history, which happened in Australia’s Victoria State. It burned about 5 million acres (7,800 miles) and killed 71 people. About 1,100 homes and log mills were destroyed. It all happened on January 13, 1939. It was so big that ash from the wildfire fell in New Zealand which is 2,000 miles east.

Western Europe

In 2007, 3,000 fires burned about 670,000 acres (1,046 miles) in Greece. The fires burned about 2,100 structures and killed 84 people. Historic sites in Athens and Olympia were dangerously close to being affected by these fires.

Canada

With 223 killed and 800 square miles of forest destroyed, the Matheson Fire in 1916 burned through the forests of Ontario. The towns of Matheson, Cochrane, and Nushka Stations were all destroyed within minutes. This fire was the catalyst for stricter Ontario fire safety laws.

Israel

In 2010 a major wildfire broke out in Northern Israel and killed at least 40 people. Over 12,000 people had to be evacuated. Eight countries helped Israel extinguish the fire, the worst one Israel had seen in years.

Italy

A fire that went on for six days and seven nights couldn’t not be on this list. The Great Fire of Rome was one of the first fires ever recorded.

Obviously, a SkySaver backpack would not help you in an outdoor fire situation (such as a wildfire). There are other ways to stay safe and avoid these kinds of fires, and we will be covering that in a different post.


Barak Bacharach, SkySaver Content Manager