2019 is proving to be another bad year for wildfires, especially in California, where firefighters are currently battling against the flames on multiple fronts. Taking a long term look at the destruction caused by wildfires in the U.S., the acreage that was burned increased dramatically in the last 20 years.
While acreage burned in the previous 10 year intervals was actually decreasing before, those numbers jumped up for the decades 1999-2008 and 2009-2018, according to numbers from the National Interagency Fire Center. For both time slots, almost 70 million acres were burned in the U.S. While the acreage destroyed by fires has been increasing, so has the cost of wildfire mitigation and the amount of money lost to fires. This is due to human settlements expanding further into forested regions, making it increasingly more expensive to protect and save homes from fires.
In California alone, annual fire suppression costs reached $422 million in the last decade.