Wildland fires are a serious threat to lives and property in the U.S. The combination of drought, warmer temperatures, high winds and an excess of dried vegetation in forests and grasslands has made fire seasons progressively worse over the past 50 years. In the past decade, wildfires have burned over 59 million acres of these lands. According to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), 2012 saw one of the worst fire seasons in decades, with over nine million acres burned.
NFPA President Jim Pauley talks about the wildfire problem and what is being done to combat it. To learn more, read Pauley's First Word column in the September/October issue of NFPA Journal.
Facts and figures
- According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 2013 saw more than 47,000 wildfires burn over 4.3 million acres.
- According to the U.S. Fire Administration: In 2012, 67,774 wildfires burned 9,326,238 acres (an area that’s bigger than NJ, Connecticut and Delaware). This makes 2012 the third highest year with the most acres burned since national wildfire statistics have been kept, beginning in 1960. Remaining at the number one and two spots are 2006 with 9.9 million, and 2007 with 9.3 million.
- In 2012, more than 2,200 primary structures were lost due to wildfire and attributed to house-to-house ignitions. From 2004 – 2012, primary structure losses totaled more than 13,000.
- The National Association of State Foresters (NASF) cites more than 72,000 U.S. communities are now at risk from wildfire.
- According to NFPA, large-loss fires accounted for nearly $800 million in direct property losses nationwide in 2011. The Bastrop County Complex (Texas) wildfire alone resulted in $400 million in property loss and was the largest of the large-loss fires recorded during that year. See the 10 largest loss wildland fires in the U.S.
- InciWeb, an incident information system, provides the most timely and accurate wildfire incident information for the public, media relations and public affairs professionals. Wildfire information on InciWeb includes the name of the fire, location and number of acres burned.
See the map below to find current wildfires activity across the U.S. The map is updated every 24 hours and developed by GeoMAC.
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