"In the case of Peshtigo it actually fanned the fire so it became a fire cyclone," said author Scott Knickelbine of Madison.
The Peshtigo Fire was documented in detail by Catholic priest Father Peter Pernin, who was among the survivors of the fire. Now Scott Knickelbine has written "The Great Peshtigo Fire Stories and Science from America's Deadliest Firestorm" for children.
"(I) kind of talk about what was happening with the fire overall and focus in on what was happening to a particular family or a particular child," said Nickelbine.
Children like Amelia Desrocher, who recalled in a 1959 interview with the Wisconsin Historical Society the moment her mother was awakened by the flames.
"So, mother got up and looked out the window and said : "Charles! The end of the world's coming." She said: "Everything's on fire!"
Desrocher's recorded interview and those of other survivors will be available for public listening on a website planned for Knickelbine's book. He hopes youngsters learn lessons that might have saved lives in 1871.
"The way that people use the land, the way people develop societies and communities has an impact on nature. And sometimes those impacts aren't very positive," he said.
Local 5's Terry Kovarik has the story.