If it seems like wildfires have dominated the news this summer, you’re not alone. In fact, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center, 2012 wildfires have already burned nearly 7 million acres – the most in the past decade.
While the actual number of fires has decreased this year, the acreage affected by a wildfire has risen.
This year, there have been nearly 631 fires contained. However, there are still 39 active wildfires across the nation.
The majority of wildfires this year occurred in California (12) and Idaho (9). There were also wildfires reported in Arizona, Hawaii, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
In the last few days, evacuations have been ordered in parts of California and Idaho.
“Aided by a shift in winds, firefighters were making a stand against the fire, which has destroyed seven homes and prompted fearful residents to take shelter at a sports complex in nearby Redding.
Since igniting Saturday, the fire grew to more than 30 square miles. Nearly 1,900 firefighters were battling the blaze in rugged, densely forested terrain as it threatened 3,500 homes in the remote towns of Shingletown, Manton and Viola, about 170 miles north of Sacramento.” (Read the Washington Post article.)
A 91,000-acre fire is also burning in Boise National Forest that has caused thick smoke and posed health threats to many. More than anything, firefighters are worried about residents who are refusing to evacuate.
“It puts everyone in higher danger. Firefighters will have to worry about the safety of people who are left behind instead of fighting the fire and saving homes. We hope those residents will reconsider and get out of there.” – Mary Christensen | U.S. fire information officer