Ontario's Historical Plaques 

Discover Ontario's history as told through its plaques

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The Great Fire of 1916

The Great Fire of 1916

Photos by contributor Brian Bockus - Posted September, 2016

The Great Fire of 1916


The Great Fire of 1916

Plaque Location

The District of Cochrane
Township of Black River-Matheson
In Matheson, attached to a rock at a park on the northwest corner of Highway 101 and Second Avenue

Coordinates: N 48 32.295 W 80 27.882


Click here for a larger map

Plaque Text

On July 29, 1916, fires which had been burning for some weeks around settlers' clearings along the Timiskaming & Northern Ontario Railway were united by strong winds into one huge conflagration. Burning easterly along a 64 km front, it largely or completely destroyed the settlements of Porquis Junction, Iroquois Falls, Kelso, Nushka, Matheson, and Ramore. It also partially razed the hamlets of Homer and Monteith, while a smaller fire caused widespread damage in and around Cochrane. The 200,000 ha holocaust took an estimated 223 lives, more than any other forest fire in Canadian history, and led to the development of improved techniques and legislation for the prevention and control of forest fires.

Related Ontario plaques
The Great Fire of 1922
Porcupine Fire

Related Toronto plaques
Great Fire of 1849
Great Toronto Fire



Here are the visitors' comments for this page.

> Posted November 5, 2015
My grandparents all perished in the fire of Nushka of 1916, I am trying to establish who were the settlers at Nushka and in what year were lands granted. My grandfather was Joseph Perreault. I would appreciate more info as we approach the centennial commemoration of the tragedy. There is also confusion about the plaque at Matheson which I photographed in 2014 and one that was taken in 1966 at the dedication of the monument. They are different shapes. Can anyone enlighten me on this difference? Are there 2 plaques at different locations?
Helene Perrault Koontz hkoontzhsd@embarqmail.com

> Posted January 7, 2013
There is a book called "And the Birds Rained Down" by Jocelyne Saucier which is about these great fires.

> Posted September 7, 2010
Wow. That fire was huge.

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