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for people who care about the West

The great nonflagration?

Despite a few high-profile wildfires, 2013 was a fairly quiet fire season after all.


This year, wildfires received unusually intense media attention after 19 firefighters died in Arizona on June 30, and during August, when the 257,314-acre Rim Fire burned in and around Yosemite National Park. Despite this, 2013 is on track to be one of the quietest fire seasons in years. By the end of October, 40,775 fires had burned 4.1 million acres nationwide – only 63 percent of the 10-year average for the number of fires, and just 59 percent of the 10-year average for acres burned. In every region except Southern California (home of the Rim Fire), the number of acres burned was below the 10-year average – particularly in the South and East, where very wet conditions helped suppress both local and national totals. While the West was closer to normal, late spring storms and a strong summer monsoon in the Southwest reduced the danger there. September was also the wettest on record for many places in Colorado, Oregon and Washington.