Flames rise around an outbuilding as the County fire burns in Guinda, California, 1 July 2018. Evacuations were ordered as dry, hot winds fueled a wildfire burning out of control Sunday in rural Northern California, sending a stream of smoke some 75 miles (120 kilometers) south into the San Francisco Bay Area. Photo: Noah Berger / AP Photo

2 July 2018 (Desdemona Despair) – Wildfire season in the U.S. is off to an active start. The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reports that more than 2.5 million acres have burned already, making this the fourth biggest season since 2008, just behind the year 2015, which turned out to be the worst season on record. This year’s burned acreage is well above the average of the last ten years, 2.29 million acres.

Year-to-date statistics
2018 (1/1/18 - 7/2/18) Fires: 29,111 Acres: 2,534,701
2017 (1/1/17 - 7/2/17) Fires: 30,461 Acres: 2,892,834
2016 (1/1/16 - 7/2/16) Fires: 26,141 Acres: 2,217,388
2015 (1/1/15 - 7/2/15) Fires: 28,432 Acres: 2,551,262
2014 (1/1/14 - 7/2/14) Fires: 26,510 Acres: 898,150
2013 (1/1/13 - 7/2/13) Fires: 22,349 Acres: 1,570,357
2012 (1/1/12 - 7/2/12) Fires: 27,912 Acres: 2,139,866
2011 (1/1/11 - 7/2/11) Fires: 36,999 Acres: 4,858,683
2010 (1/1/10 - 7/2/10) Fires: 29,946 Acres: 1,491,301
2009 (1/1/09 - 7/2/09) Fires: 48,678 Acres: 1,918,243
2008 (1/1/08 - 7/2/08) Fires: 44,036 Acres: 1,877,565
Annual average prior 10 years
2008-2017 Fires: 31,161 Acres: 2,285,234

The NIFC warns:

Wildland fire activity has picked up throughout the western states. Currently, 53 fires have burned over 648,000 acres.

Wildfire danger is high this 4th of July throughout the drought-stricken West. Please be safe and follow fireworks laws or it could cost you a hefty fine. Wildfires ignited by fireworks cause serious injuries and property loss every year. Do your part. One less spark means one less wildfire.

The year 2015 was the worst U.S. wildfire season in recorded history, with more than ten million acres burned. In second place is 2006. The 2017 season is third, and much of that acreage caught fire extraordinarily late in the season, during California’s worst wildfire year ever.

Year  Number of fires  Total acres burned
2015 68,151 10,125,149
2006 96,385 9,873,745
2017 59,336 9,489,605
2007 85,705 9,328,045
2012 67,774 9,326,238
2011 74,126 8,711,367
2005 66,753 8,689,389
2004 65,461 8,097,880
2000 92,250 7,393,493
2002 73,457 7,184,712

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows much of the West in drought conditions, so we can expect the active wildfire season to continue.

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