The yard of the Columbia River Lumber Company with the piles of drying lumber.

The yard of the Columbia River Lumber Company with the piles of drying lumber.

Fires burn in the history of Golden

Forests have always been a part of the history of Golden. Sometimes in great ways other times destructive.

Here I sit on June 15, 2012, looking out at rolling clouds and thinking about the weather forecast which is calling for more rain.

This certainly wasn’t the case one hundred years ago on June 15, 1912, in fact the forests were burning up and they hadn’t had much rain at all.

Check out the Golden Star article from 1912.

The Golden Star: June 15th 1912




Forest fire, which caused more animosity than actual damage, raged in the vicinity of Golden from Saturday last until Wednesday afternoon when rain, the first to fall in this district since April with the exception of a slight shower May 28, checked their progress and considered possible effective measures to get the conflagrations under control.

On several occasions destruction of property in town was feared but the elements were favourable and apart from losses sustained by the CRL Co., and many of its employees no great damage was sought.

On Saturday afternoon and again on Tuesday afternoon the situation was serious but fortunately the wind was in Golden’s favor in each case. Thousands of acres have burned over but, it is said, damage to green timber was not excessive.

Camp 14, a construction camp, between three and four million feet of saw logs and some of the equipment of the camps are the chief losses sustained by the CRL Co.

But many of the company’s employees lost all their effects in rushing to safety.

Fortunately no fatalities are reported but several men had to put up hard fights for their lives.

Early Wednesday morning a high wind arose and difficulty was encountered in stopping the fires across the Columbia River from leaping to this side.

As a precautionary measure the fire engine and reels have been sent up town on the previous evening from the mill at the request of certain citizens by Manager Sanders who expressed every willingness to assist the townspeople.

The engine was lighted early Wednesday morning, William Houston acting as engineer and Frank Nattress, chief of the fire brigade, and his able assistants saturated many of the buildings in town to prevent flying embers causing any damage.

Large gangs of men were employed in fighting the fires which at intervals spread with almost inconceivable rapidity.

Theo J. Wadman of Revelstoke, chief fire ranger for this district, supervised the fighting of the fires.

During the progress of the fires John Anderson, CPR roadmaster, placed several gangs of men at the disposal of the citizens in case of emergency and this assistance proved very valuable.