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In 1918, holidays in Cloquet were met with hammers and hope

For more than a year, Carlton County has been commemorating the firestorm of 1918. There have been photographs and artifact displays, talks by historians, and readings of first-person accounts. And yet it can still be difficult to fathom just what life was like in the county that fall with a moonscape of ashes all around.

It's what makes things eerie when the fire gets placed back in the news 100 years later, not as a historical marker but as a gruesome comparison to what is happening now in California. The Camp Fire near Chico has claimed scores of lives, with hundreds of people still missing...