Yellowstone, 1988
Credit: Ted Wood / Getty Images


The Place: Montana and Idaho
The Underlying Cause: Lightning
The Devastation: 1,585,000 acres burned
What Is Noteworthy about This Fire: Yellowstone was experiencing the driest summer on record and was in the midst of a severe drought but the fire season started late and was seemingly mild until mid-July. At first, the National Parks Service attempted to manage some of the fires for the benefit of the ecosystem but they grew out of control. On the single worst day – August 20th – the winds pushed the fires across 150,000 acres.