Prairie Fires on the Frontier

Time Frame: 1800's

In the 1800s prairie fires were common occurrences. They swept across the land wiping out everything in their paths.
“The Prairie Pioneers,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 4, Iowa Public Television, 1977.

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There was no fence that could stay the prairie fires that raged across the open land. They were a nature part of the prairie life cycle, but they could easily wipe out everything a settler had worked for. They burned so fast that neither man nor horse could outrun them. The open landscape offered little protect against the high winds that fanned the flames. All the settler could do was to plow a firebreak of three or four parallel furrows around the farm and burn off the grass in between.


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