About a month ago, misguided headlines announced 2013 as a sensationally big fire season nationally — some called it the worst season in a decade. As the Rim fire burns in California, I’ve heard the statement made on television.
The season has been filled with drama, but it’s not the biggest in a decade nationally. Check it on the National Interagency Fire Center web site.
Total fires and acres burned are both well below the 10-year average. At this rate, the season won’t even match last year.
National Public Radio got it right on Aug. 15 with a story titled: 2013 wildfire season proving to be more mild than wild.
That was two days before the Rim fire started. The Rim is an expensive, sprawling blaze. California, indeed, is having bad fire year, according to Cal Fire. But California hasn’t change the national numbers in a big way.
At the same time, it is still a truly dramatic wildfire year.
The Rim fire in Stanislaus National Forest is one of California’s biggest wildfires on record. It is burning around and in Yosemite National Park. In Arizona, 19 firefighters tragically died in a fierce wildfire. Many homeowners have been in harm’s way as fires have burned this year.
But, unless there’s a lot more burning in the next several weeks, 2013 will not go down nationally as the most extensive wildfire season in a decade — or even the last few years.