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Wildfire Statistics

CRS In Focus – Wildfires are unplanned fires, including lightning-caused fires, unauthorized human-caused fires, and escaped prescribed fire projects. States are responsible for responding to wildfires that begin on non federal (state, local, and private) lands, except for lands protected by federal agencies under cooperative agreements. The federal government is responsible for responding to wildfires that begin on federal lands. The Forest Service (FS)—within the U.S. Department of Agriculture—carries out wildfire management and response across the 193 million acres of the National Forest System(NFS). The Department of the Interior (DOI) manages wildfire response for more than 400million acres of national parks, wildlife refuges and preserves, other public lands, and Indian reservations. Wildfire statistics help to illustrate past U.S. wildfire activity. Nationwide data compiled by the National Interagency Coordination Center (NICC) indicate that the number of annual wildfires is variable but has decreased slightly over the last 30 years and the number of acres affected annually, while also variable, generally has increased. Since 2000, an annual average of 70,072 wildfires has burned an annual average of 7.0 million acres. The acreage figure is more than double the average annual acreage burned in the 1990s (3.3million acres), although a greater number of fires occurred annually in the 1990s (78,600 average)…”

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