Wildfires: A statistical wrap-up

Published: April 25, 2013, 3:45 pm, by Ryan Handy

For all the wildfire geeks out there, the National Interagency Fire Center has a fascinating statistical round-up of the worst fires in North American history–how many homes and acres they burned, how much they cost, and how many lives they claimed.

But, if pouring over the minutia of wildfire history is not your thing, then at least take a look at how wildfire season 2012 went down in the history books:

  • Four 2012 fires made it onto the list of Historical Fires–so the biggest and most destructive fires. Last year, those fires were: The Waldo Canyon fire, The Whitewater-Baldy (NM), White Draw (SD), and Long Draw (OR).  The list stretches back to 1804, when explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark recorded an epic fire in the Dakotas. It also includes some devastating fires around the turn of the century, one of which killed 450 people in Minnesota.
  • In 2012, the Rocky Mountains had the most lightning caused fires in the United States, at 1,992 fires.  When it comes to the highest number of human caused fires–the southeast far out-shone the west there, with some 29,000 fires versus the Rocky Mountain number around 3,500.