According to the Associated Press, 2007 was the second costliest season ever.
“BOISE, Idaho — Wildfires scorched an area four times the size of Yellowstone National Park and destroyed more than 5,200 buildings in 2007, one of the nation’s worst fire seasons despite a record amount of retardant dropped by aircraft.
The Boise-based National Interagency Fire Center reported nearly 14,000 square miles burned and the federal government spent more than $1.8 billion fighting wildfires, making it the second costliest season on record.
Even though fire managers used 22.4 million gallons of fire retardant – nearly triple the 10-year average – the area burned in 2007 trails only 2006 when fire consumed 15,500 square miles.
The number of buildings burned in 2007 ranks second since current counting methods began in 1999, trailing the 5,700 buildings destroyed in 2003, the fire center reported.”
The emphasis in the story on the use of retardant is interesting. This will only reinforce the impression in the public that air tankers are the answer to keeping fires small, while the truth is, large wind-driven fires are not suppressed by air tankers.
(Photo by Bill Gabbert)