Cranberry Portage Fire, June 4, 1929

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June 4th, 1929 was a scorching hot summer day, as were the previous days of that fateful spring. No rain had turned the forest into a tinderbox waiting for a crucial spark.

A steam engine chugs its way along the newly laid track to Flin Flon. As it reached a marked incline in the grade, the engineer pushes the throttle ahead to increase power. All systems respond and the ignited coal burns just that much hotter.

Along with the smoke a spark escapes out the engine’s smokestack. It falls to the side of the track and nestles among the dry brittle debris. Soon a small spiral of smoke curls its way skyward. Then a tiny flame bursts forth. As it creeps along the tinder dry underbrush, it continues to grow. Suddenly a bush ignites

A forest fire has been born!