National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce

 

The Great Chicago Fire of 1871

A dry spell of weather across the Midwestern U.S. during the summer and first half of the autumn of 1871 helped fuel numerous large wildfires that broke out across the region in early October. On the evening of October 8th, a fire broke out on the southwest side of the city of Chicago and would burn through the city for about one and a half days, leaving much of the city in ruins and becoming a significant part of its history in the process. To mark the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire, we put together this web page to discuss the warm, dry, and windy weather that allowed for the fire to spread through the city as quickly as it did, the rain and cold front that moved in to help put the fire out, and to highlight the National Weather Service’s fire weather program, which plays an integral role in assisting organizations that carry out planned burns and supporting firefighters who battle wildfires across the United States.

 

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Additional recaps can be found on the NWS Chicago Past Events Page
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