Above: Engine 337 of the Tonto National Forest monitors the Juniper Fire, which started by a lighting strike on May 20, 2016 approximately 10 miles south of Young, Arizona. Photo courtesy of USDA Forest Service, Tonto National Forest.
Wildfires burned nearly 600,000 acres last year in a three-state region of the Southwest U.S., more than double the number of acres burned in each of the previous two years, according to a new report published this week detailing the 2016 fire season.
The report is the fourth in a series of annual overviews made available from the Southwest Fire Science Consortium and the Ecological Restoration Institute intended to serve as a summary for past years and allow for a comparison with previous fires.
Specifically, the report describes effects from the 12 largest fires — each larger than 8,000 acres — in Arizona, New Mexico and western Texas.
Twelve fires are examined in detail. Four occurred in New Mexico: the North, Dog Head, McKenna and Clavel fires; seven in Arizona: Cedar, Jack, Juniper, Brown, Fuller, Rim and Mule Ridge; and one in Texas: the Coyote Fire.
These 12 largest fires represent nearly half of the acres burned by wildfire in 2016.