Scene on Bear Creek, Woods on Fire, by Gustav Grunewald, 1848.
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Painting of a train speeding on the tracks through a burning forest.

Credit: Courtesy of the Moravian College, Payne Gallery, Bethlehem

In the 1800s railroads were also a major cause of forest fires. Sparks and cinders belching from the stacks of passing locomotives burned tens of thousands of acres to the ground. In 1848 Bethlehem artist Gustav Grunewald painted this scene of a train on the Lehigh and Susquehanna Railroad passing through a forest fire near Bear Creek, a remote location southeast of Wilkes Barre.

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