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Presentation on 1918 fires planned for St. Louis County Board meeting

ST. LOUIS COUNTY –This week marks the 100th anniversary of the devastating fires of 1918, the worst natural disaster in Minnesota’s history. To pay tribute to the lives lost and raise awareness of the anniversary, the County Board’s meeting on Tuesday, October 9, will include a presentation about the fires and the resulting damage in St. Louis County.

The Board also will issue a proclamation marking Friday, October 12, as 1918 Fires Remembrance Day in St. Louis County.

The County Board meeting is being held at the Midway Township Town Hall, 3230 Midway Road.

Bob Swanstrom of the Hermantown Historical Society and JoAnne Coombe of the St. Louis County Historical Society will each speak about the fires’ impact in the southern part of the county. Among the communities affected were Brookston, Hermantown, Canosia, Normanna and rural Duluth.

The presentation also will touch on how lessons learned in the wake of the fires helped shape some of the services provided by St. Louis County, including emergency management and public safety, public health, various social services, and even forestry and land management.

Governor Mark Dayton has signed a statewide proclamation in recognition of the anniversary of the fires. That proclamation will be read during the County Board meeting.