Unavoidable elements of our landscape and wildfires are also essential to the natural cycle of restoration and regeneration. Despite their potential for destruction, wildfires can also have beneficial ecological impacts, including releasing nutrients into the soil and encouraging the growth of new flora. Every year, seasonal variations in fire activity intensity are influenced by several variables, including the weather and human activities. The present level of fire activity around the country will be examined in this article, along with any trends or patterns that have been noticed.
National Fire Activity Trends
It’s no secret that more fires are happening in the US. Both the quantity and severity of wildfires have considerably increased during the past few years. Several things, such as population growth, climate change, and changes in land use, bring this on. As a result, it’s critical to keep abreast of the most recent developments in the country’s fire activity.
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The growing frequency of wildfires is one of the most critical trends in national fire activity. Since the 1980s, there has been an increase in major, severe fires. The western United States is where these fires are most prone to break out, with California, Oregon, and Washington, particularly at risk. Since 1984, there have been around four times as many big fires in the United States, and they have consumed almost five times as much land.
Climate change is a significant factor in wildfires’ increased frequency and intensity. Dry conditions have resulted from rising temperatures and a decline in snow cover, making fires more straightforward to start and spread. As a result of increased fuel availability brought on by rising temperatures and drought, fires may become more fierce and challenging to put out.
Last but not least, changes in land use are a factor in the rise in fires. In the western United States, more and more land is being developed as the population there continues to rise. This may increase the fuel available for wildfires and the potential for more buildings to sustain fire damage.
For firefighting groups, staying current on national fire activity trends is crucial since it enables them to better prepare for and combat possible wildfires. By being aware of the most recent trends, they can better prepare for and respond to the growing frequency and intensity of wildfires.
You can also check the Incident Management Situation Report of January 2023.
During the Covid-19 Pandemic, The Wildland Fire Community Will Safely Manage Wildfires
- During the COVID-19 epidemic, all wildland fire agencies are still dedicated to managing wildfires safely and efficiently. In collaboration with wildland fire agencies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention created crucial COVID-19 Guidance for all wildland firefighters during the 2020 fire season to limit exposure to the virus and, consequently, its potential to spread to firefighters and communities.
- The Guidance continued in 2022 and decreased COVID-19 among wildland fire professionals. As a result, wildland firefighters can manage wildfires and carry out crucial fuel management tasks.
Recreate Responsibly: Preventing Wildfires Requires the Help of the General People
- Why Tens of thousands of fires are put out before they grow to be massive wildfires more than 95% are contained within the first 24 hours of the initial response.
- In general, 87% of all wildfires that occur each year are caused by humans. A significant concern to public safety is that many wildfires are located close to highways, neighborhoods, and recreational areas.
- During the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor activities have become popularized. The Recreate Responsibly Coalition provides recommendations and advice for exercising outside and remaining healthy.
Activities that avoid wildfires and engage in responsible outdoor leisure. Visit recreateresponsibly.org to learn more.
Supporting the Labor Involved in Wildland Fire Management
- Because firefighters are needed for most of the year, wildland fire authorities are attempting to move away from a primarily seasonal staff.
- Throughout the year, calls for help from national and international disaster response efforts routinely go out to firefighters and wildland fire personnel.
- The wildland fire workforce is under additional strain due to longer, more intense fire seasons and the requirement to aggressively manage and reduce fuels across a large, more combustible area.
- To support the wildland fire personnel who form the core of wildland fire management, the federal wildland fire agencies continue to prioritize providing mental health resources, ensuring career stability and upward mobility, pursuing work-life balance, increasing pay, and providing overall support.
National Fire Activity’s Root Causes
Campfires, cigarettes, and intentional arson are among the human activities that are the leading causes of fire activity. Additionally, contributing significantly to the rise in fire activity is climate change. The perfect conditions for wildfires to spread and intensify are produced by rising temperatures, longer and drier summers, and more frequent droughts.
In addition, because of the buildup of dead and dying trees and bushes, forests that have been managed to produce lumber frequently have a higher risk of wildfire. An increase in pest and disease infestations, which can weaken and destroy trees and make dangerous fuel for wildfires, has also been attributed to human-caused climate change.
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Although wildfires are an unavoidable and natural feature of our landscape, their frequency and ferocity are rising, which is a matter of concern. Human activities primarily cause increased fire activity, and climate change is making matters worse. In addition to managing forests in a way that lowers the risk of wildfire, it is crucial to take action to mitigate human-caused climate change.
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