Burned area in Canada far ahead of average

Acres burned to date in U.S. 46% above average.

Hectares burned in Canada to date

The number of hectares burned in Canada this year is far ahead of average.

In the United States the acres burned to date are 46 percent above normal. Statistics from May 20, 2016, the last time the National Interagency Fire Center issued a daily Situation Report, show that 1,551,474 acres had burned, compared to the 10-year to-date average of 1,063,835. Almost two-thirds of that was in the Southern Geographical Area — 955,242. The Rocky Mountain Geographical Area also had a surprisingly high figure — 374,846 acres; but that area includes Kansas, where most of the 397,000-acre Anderson Creek Fire occurred in March.

If you disregard that one huge fire, the total in the U.S. is a lot closer to average. But I’m guessing that some politician somewhere is going to take that 46 percent higher than normal figure and run with it.

These numbers do not include prescribed fires. As of May 20 almost 2 million acres in the U.S. have been visited by prescribed fire.

Burned acres in US May 20, 2016
Burned acres in U.S. as of May 20, 2016. NIFC.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

2 thoughts on “Burned area in Canada far ahead of average”

  1. 2 million acres of prescribed fire as reported on the Sit. However, the almost-entirely-privately-owned Flint Hills region of Kansas and 4 counties in Oklahoma had over 2.7 million acres of prescribed fire, with hardly any of that being duplicated on the Sit.


    Any other states out there with reports on private lands prescribed fire that doesn’t end up on the Sit?

    1. The sit report is considered even by NIFC staff to be inaccurate, certainly with regard to tracking prescribed fire acres. They point out that the numbers are only as good as the degree to which units actually report them. The problem is that this limitation is not apparent to readers of the table, such as the media, who will take the numbers and use them as protrayed unless they have been cautioned by NIFC not to do so. It strikes me as at least an attractive nuisance to post data known to be inaccurate.

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