Adirondack Fire, the Great Fire of 1903, was a wildfire comprising 643 fires in Adirondack and Catskill region, New York, that started on Monday, April 20, 1903.[1][2][3][4] The fire lasted for six weeks. It burned a total area of 600,000 acres, mainly in Adirondack Forest.[5][6] There were no human deaths, but it killed fish, trees, and deer and damaged properties.[2][7]

Adirondack Fire
LocationAdirondack Park and Catskill regions, New York State
Burned area600,000 acres (240,000 ha)
CauseA farmer in Lake Placid lost control of a fallow fire, which was spread due to drought and dry weather conditions.

Origin Edit

In April, a farmer in Lake Placid lost control of a fallow fire.[2]: 7  The fire was fueled by a 72-day-long drought, scarce rainfall, dried leaves, and vegetation.[5][6] Other factors that aided the spread of the fire included 8 inches less snowfall than the ten-year-average, and rainfall after April 17 was 0.2 inches, the least ever recorded.[2] Fires in other parts were ignited by sparks due to wood and coal-fueled trains and insufficiently regulated logging.[5][8][7][4]

Description Edit

The center of the Great Fire of 1903 was Lake Placid, which spread at a rate of 8 miles in two hours.[5] The high winds spread the fire to a tract 6 miles long by 3 miles in width.[2] It spread to as far as 150 miles south from where it originated. It covered areas including Schroon Lake, Lake George, Olmsteadville, Newcomb, Ausable Forks, Saranac Lake, and Clintonville.[5][6] 6,487 men and women were fighting the fire in Adirondack.[7] There were few fire prevention measures and no mechanized equipment.[5] The telephone and telegraph lines were all down.[9] It burned 14,000 acres in Lake Placid and killed every tree in the region. 40,000 acres in Rockfeller Preserve near Paul Smith were destroyed.[3]

Loon Lake House in Loon Lake was under threat, and the White Face Inn of Lake Placid was completely surrounded by fire.[9] Fire in Keene Valley burned nine miles from Cascade to St. Hubert's Inn. 17,000 acres in towns of Keene and Elizabethtown were burned. North Hudson lost 18,000 acres, and Nehasane Preserve lost 12,000 acres to the fire.[7] A total area of 600,000 acres was burned due to the fire, out of which more than 400,000 acres belonged to the Adirondack Forest.[5][6][10][11] The cost of firefighting in Lake Placid went over $1 million.[2]

Consequences Edit

All fish in Heart Lake and Big Moose Lake were killed due to the fire.[2][7] It led to the unemployment of 200 men.[9] Heavy ash fell on New York City and Utica.[1] The total direct loss was $3,500,000.[2]

References Edit

  1. ^ a b David A. Paterson & Alexander B. Grannis. "Fire Tower Study for the Adirondack Park." NY State Department of Environmental Conservation. Retrieved 2020-04-24.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Suter, Herman Milton; United States. Bureau of Forestry (1904). Forest fires in the Adirondacks in 1903. National Agricultural Library U. S. Department of Agriculture. [Washington, Govt. Print. Off.]
  3. ^ a b "Adirondack Forest Succession". Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  4. ^ a b Unknown (2016-04-26). "ADK Forever Wild: Forest Fires in the Adirondacks". ADK Forever Wild. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "Adirondack Forest Fires | Adirondack Experience: More than a Museum". Adirondack Experience. 4 April 2017. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  6. ^ a b c d "1908: Forest fires wipe out Adirondack village (photos)". newyorkupstate. 2018-09-29. Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Adirondack Life Article - The Big Burn - Adirondack Life". Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  8. ^ "The Johnstown daily Republican. volume (Johnstown, N.Y.) 1890-1912, May 20, 1903, Image 1" (1903/05/20). 1903-05-20: 1. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ a b c "Ithaca daily journal. (Ithaca, N.Y.) 1872-1913, May 01, 1903, Image 8" (1903/05/01). 1903-05-01: 8. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  10. ^ "Fire towers get second life a century on | News, Sports, Jobs - Adirondack Daily Enterprise". Retrieved 2020-04-25.
  11. ^ Erin R. Abadir, et al. "Historical Fire Regimes in Red Pine Forests of the Adirondack Mountains, New York, USA." Natural Areas Journal. Retrieved 2020-04-24.