In the summer of 1910, hundreds of wildfires raged across the Northern Rockies. By the time it was all over, more than three million acres had burned and at least 78 firefighters were dead. Ignited during the United States Forest Service's infancy, the largest fire in American history had profound consequences. It reinforced for Americans the value of land protected for the common good and assured the future of the Forestry Service. But it had profoundly tragic ramifications as well. Rather than prompting debate about fire protection, the fire squelched all discussion. It ended the tussle between those who thought every fire should be fought promptly and aggressively and those who believed that fire suppression was not always the best way to protect the wilderness. It set the Forest Service and conservationists on a century-long journey away from controlled burning that would, in the end, harm the ecology of the wilderness it was intended to protect.
Visit the Website: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/burn/
Length: 56 minutes