The Spectacle Blog

The Tahoe Fire

By on 6.28.07 | 4:16AM

In Chapter XXIII of Roughing It, Mark Twain describes accidentally setting fire to a large section of woods on the shore of Lake Tahoe:

“I heard a shout from Johnny, and looking up I saw that my fire was galloping all over the premises! Johnny was on the other side of it. He had to run through the flames to get to the lake shore, and then we stood helpless and watched the devastation.” This description of setting a forest fire on the shores of

Lake Tahoe was written in Chapter 13 (sic) of Mark Twain’s novel, Roughing It. Twain goes on to describe having watched the fire “surging up adjacent ridges—surmounted them and disappeared in the cañons beyond…flamed out again, directly, higher and still higher up the mountain-side” from Lake Tahoe. Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) had gone west to avoid the Civil War.

Small comfort to the homeowners who lost houses in the current blaze.

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