Though it is not Pennsylvania, I thought it might be interesting to see what was happening 100 years ago in California. Here is just one report. From the Oakland Tribune comes this report of October 14, 1917.
TRUCKEE. Oct. 13. – One of the worst forest fires in years is burning about a mile west of Truckee. The fire started over a month ago from lightning and has been gradually spreading over the hills back of town until now it extends from Truckee almost to the head of Donner Lake, a distance of three miles and a width of two miles. Several hundred cords of wood belonging to B.A. Cassidy have burned and the wood haulers’ camp, with a great deal of supplies has been completely destroyed.
Forest Ranger Wilson of the government service, has a large force of men trying to hold the fire in check but a shift in the wind every afternoon makes it difficult to control.
More than 450 newspaper articles reported on fires in California that year. Lives were lost to wildfires. Ranches, homes, and industrial sites were threatened and burned. It wasn’t the worst year for fires in California, but when it is your family or friends, your home, or place of employment, that was destroyed by a fire, it was a bad year.