The National Interagency Coordination Center released its report on the 2018 fire season. Across the country, the number of reported wildfires was below normal. The 58,083 reported nationally is 84 percent of the 10-year average and down from 71,499 in 2017. However, the 8,767,492 acres burned is above normal. In 2017, 10,026,086 acres were charred. The Great Basin region led the nation in reports, with almost 2.1 million acres.
Nearly fifty fires and complexes exceeded 40,000 acres, more than in 2017. That makes up about 2 percent of total wildfires in 2018.
These wildfires were particularly dangerous and destructive. More than 25,000 structures were destroyed by wildfires in 2018, more than doubling the previous record since data began in 1999. Of those structures, 18,137 were residences, 6,927 minor structures, and 229 commercial/mixed residential structures. The annual average is only about 2,700 residences.
California saw the highest number of structures lost in one state. It also experienced its deadliest year for wildfires. More than 100 lives were lost in 2018. The Camp Fire accounted for 85 of the fatalities alone. The 153,000 acre fire was also the most destructive in the state’s history. 2018 also brought California’s largest blaze geographically in July’s Mendicino-Complex.
For WeatherNation, Meteorologist Karissa Klos.