A new report from the National Interagency Fire Center shows that America’s wildfire activity in 2012 has surged beyond the 10-year average for number of acres burned. According to NIFC, 7.7 million acres have burned so far this year, passing the 10-year average of 5.8 million acres.
The surge in wildfire activity was partly driven by a hot, dry weather that spread drought conditions to 78 percent of the contiguous U.S.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the period between July 2011 and June 2012 was the hottest 12-month period ever recorded for the U.S. NOAA also reported that July was the hottest month ever recorded in the country.
In July, Harris Sherman, Agriculture Undersecretary for Natural Resources and Environment tied the shift in wildfire activity to climate change: “We’ve had record fires in 10 states in the last decade, most of them in the West…. The climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicator of that,” he said.