Waterfront. St. Maries, Idaho.
Steamboats: possibly the Idaho, Georgie Oakes, Colfax, and Flyer.
Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture/
Eastern Washington State Historical Society,
Excerpts from Steamboats in the Timber
by Ruby El Hult, pages 134 – 137:
"In 1910 there came the most terrible forest fires the Northwest has ever known. In that year the St. Joe Valley had ‘its guts burned out.’ That summer no rain fell for several months. All the forests in the Northwest became dry as shavings. By the middle of August the Coeur d’Alene, Cabinet and Clearwater national forests had fires burning in them, but the fires were under control and being guarded by experienced men.
"Then …[t]he Northwest … was visited by a roaring wind which swept these fires into a flaming holocaust …
"This fire, as described in Everybody’s Magazine, ‘traveled at seventy miles an hour, a speed greater than anything before known in wildfire’ …
"The smoke became so thick that people all over the Northwest had to keep their lamps burning all day. Conductors on trains had to carry lanterns to read tickets. ‘The smoke shut out the sun at Billings, Montana, five-hundred and fifty miles distant; obscured the skies at Denver, eight hundred miles away; in the Dakotas and down into Kansas the pall of smoke was seen in the sky.’
"In the St. Joe Valley a fire started in the Benewah Lake region and spread up both sides of the river …
"From both St. Joe and St. Maries went emergency calls to Coeur d’Alene for [steamboats] for rescue of the inhabitants should the towns catch fire. The Colfax was sent to St. Joe and placed under the supervision of Jim Hawkins ... ; for three days it stood by with steam up. To St. Maries went the Idaho and three big barges. The barges totaled ninety feet in length and with them a bridge was formed across the river, so that if the town started to burn the townspeople could cross to the meadow-slough on the opposite side where there was nothing to burn and enough water to keep them cool. It was decided this was a better plan than to try to take a mob of panicky people downriver on the steamboat between burning hills.
… "In the Avery region many people who lived along the railroad tracks were saved by rescue trains …
"When it was seen that Wallace could not be saved, the town was evacuated. Rescue trains were clogged with refugees – women and children jam-packed inside coaches, men clinging to the sides and tops. Harrison was overrun with burned-out families; whole boatloads of weeping women and hungry children were taken across the lake to Coeur d’Alene."