Jerry Lee Lewis’ rollicking tune notwithstanding, fire shapes human history. Having learned to create and control fire over 400,000 years ago, humankind embarked upon the painstaking process of building civilizations and all the wonders and ills that attend human gatherings. We still use fire to distill water, melt and solder metals, produce steam to run turbines for electricity, incinerate trash, and heat our homes.Fire is unpredictable, both master and slave to human demand. Nature, however, has played with fire for longer than humankind: Discover Magazine noted in its October 7, 2011, issue that “A coal seam about 140 miles north of Sydney, Australia, has been burning by some estimates for 500,000 years.” When fire burns out of control, the event inspires terror and awe and it changes lives for a long, long time. Following are some of the most memorable fires in history.