Photos: Aftermath of the 1918 Cloquet-Moose Lake wildfire


1918 wildfire
1 The remains of a neighborhood of burned-out homes -- reduced to debris-filled basements -- are seen after a wildfire swept through Cloquet, Minn., on Oct. 12, 1918. This view is looking north toward the Masonic Temple and Washington School. The Cloquet-Moose Lake fire devastated those two communities among others in northeastern Minnesota, including parts of Duluth, leaving hundreds of people dead and thousands homeless. 
1918 wildfire
2 The burned-out shell of Cloquet High School is seen after the massive October 1918 wildfire. The wildfires also destroyed Moose Lake and surrounding communities, and reached as far as some neighborhoods of Duluth. 
1918 wildfire
3 The wreckage of automobiles are seen along a northeastern Minnesota road after the wildfires of October 1918. Drivers trying to flee the flames sometimes drove off roads when heavy smoke reduced visibility. Some residents used trains to escape the flames. 
1918 wildfire
4 A view of a ruined neighborhood after a wildfire swept through Cloquet on Oct. 12, 1918. The Cloquet-Moose Lake fire burned across a large swath of northeastern Minnesota. 
1918 wildfire
5 The ruins of homes and buildings -- including the Catholic Church (at right) -- are seen after the wildfire swept through Cloquet. 
1918 wildfire
6 A crowd gathers near the remains of the Cloquet train depot after the wildfire. 
1918 wildfire
7 A view of a neighborhood in Cloquet after the October 1918 wildfire. By the time this photo was taken, construction had started on a few new structures. The remains of Cloquet High School are visible at center. 
1918 wildfire
8 Burn victims are brought to an American Red Cross facility in Duluth after the massive wildfires that swept across northeastern Minnesota in October 1918. The fire hit as the area -- and the nation -- were reeling from an influenza pandemic as well as ongoing casualties from World War I. 
​​Not much was left of Cloquet after the fire.​
9 Not much was left of Cloquet after the wildfire of October 1918. The fire also devastated nearby communities, and left hundreds of people dead. 
The Red Cross set up camps throughout northern Minn. to help fire victims.
10 The Red Cross set up camps throughout northern Minnesota to help fire victims as well as home guardsmen assisting in the efforts. 
People drove their cars into the lake to escape the flames in Moose Lake.
11 People drove their cars into the lake to escape the flames around Moose Lake. 
Burned cars lay in ruins along the roadsides throughout northern Minnesota.
12 Burned cars were left along roads across much of northeastern Minnesota after the fires. 
Cloquet in ruins after the fire.
13 Cloquet is seen in ruins after the fire swept across the Carlton County community. 
Minnesota home guardsmen and other volunteers helped dig a mass grave.
14 Minnesota home guardsmen and other volunteers help dig a mass grave at Moose Lake to accommodate the unidentifiable burned bodies from the October 1918 fire. 
Emergency shelter
15 The Duluth Armory served as an emergency shelter during the massive wildfire that burned through Cloquet and near Duluth in 1918, killing more than 400 people. Many people in the photo are wearing face masks to try to protect themselves from the flu pandemic.