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Worst U.S. Fires

October 9, 2010 - National Fire Prevention Week -- a time to look around your house with the idea of keeping the risk of fire to a minimum. It's also a good time to check the batteries of your smoke detectors. Two of the worst fires in U.S. history broke out on October 9,  1871. One was the famous fire in Chicago. A second fire on that day was much worse but has faded into history. A dry summer and high winds turned a forest blaze into a firestorm that jumped rivers, destroying the town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, and 11 other communities, killing as many as 2,400 people. At least a million acres were blackened. There were nearly 79,000 wild fires across the U.S. two years ago, burning more than 5 million acres.

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