Wildfires are hitting closer to home
Wildfires are typically thought of as a problem only the western United States contends with, but now more than ever, people across the country are living in close proximity to locations with a high chance for fire.
These areas with a higher risk to fire are classified as wildland-urban interfaces, or WUIs, and it’s where homes and areas like forests or wild fields meet. Living in one of these spots increases your chances of experiencing a wildfire firsthand.
Because of where population has been growing in recent years, now more people than ever are at a high risk of a wildfire destroying their home.
The increased number of people at risk of wildfires has forced the U.S. Forest Service to allot more and more money to fighting fires.
According to a report from the USDA, the U.S. Forest Service spent only 16 percent of its budget on fighting fires. Fast forward 20 years to 2015, and they’re spending 52 percent of their budget on fighting fires.
Fires in western states are larger, requiring a lot of people to battle the flames while fires in Southern states rank higher in number, which also require a lot of firefighters to extinguish the flames.
So far in 2017, there have been almost 60,000 fires through the month of May, leaving more than 2.7 million acres charred.
That’s more fires in the first five months of the year than any other previous year on record, and the second most amount of burned land, only behind 2011.
Less than halfway through the year, and 2017 is already burning its way into the record books.
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