FACTS: National wildfire facts and figures

Here's a look at what you need to know about wildfires.

Latest Wildfire Info: 2013 Season So Far

About Wildfires: Wildfires are sometimes called "wildland fires."

Wildfires can originate from a dropped match, cigarette embers, campfires, exhaust sparks from a train, or arson.

Many wildland fires are ignited by lightning.

There are no official rules, but the first responders usually name a fire after a meadow, creek, city, or type of plant they see.

Wind, temperature, and humidity all influence wildfires. Strong winds push flames toward new fuel sources. Wind can pick up and transfer burning embers and sparks, starting "spot fires."

During the day, sunlight heats the ground and warm air rises, allowing hot air currents to travel up sloped landscapes. At night, the ground cools and air currents travel down the slopes.

Humidity dampens fuel, slowing the spread of flames. Humidity is greater at night, so fires usually burn less intensely then.

Large fires can create their own winds and weather, increasing their flow of oxygen.

A really large fire can generate hurricane-force winds, up to 120 mph. The high temperatures preheat fuels in the fire's path, preparing them to burn more readily.

Firefighter Wildland Fatalities: (U.S Fire Administration)

  • 2001: 15
  • 2002: 23
  • 2003: 29
  • 2004: 21
  • 2005: 19
  • 2006: 22
  • 2007: 11
  • 2008: 26
  • 2009: 16
  • 2010: 11
  • 2011: 10
  • 2012: 11

U.S. Fire Season Summary: (National Interagency Fire Center)

  • 2000 Fires: 92,250 Acres Burned: 7,393,493
  • 2001 Fires: 84,079 Acres Burned: 3,570,911
  • 2002 Fires: 73,457 Acres Burned: 7,184,712
  • 2003 Fires: 63,629 Acres Burned: 3,960,842 2004 Fires: 65,461 Acres Burned: 8,097,880* *
  • 2004 fires and acres do not include state lands for North Carolina
  • 2005 Fires: 66,753 Acres Burned: 8,689,389
  • 2006 Fires: 96,385 Acres Burned: 9,873,745
  • 2007 Fires: 85,705 Acres Burned: 9,328,045
  • 2008 Fires: 78,979 Acres Burned: 5,292,468
  • 2009 Fires: 78,792 Acres Burned: 5,921,786
  • 2010 Fires: 71,971 Acres Burned: 3,422,724
  • 2011 Fires: 74,126 Acres Burned: 8,711,367
  • 2012 Fires: 67,774 Acres Burned: 9,326,238
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