U.S. Fires 2012
Records maintained by the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) and NASA both indicate that 2012 was an extraordinary year for wildfires in the United States.
NIFC statistics show that more than 9.1 million acres had burned as of November 30, 2012 the third highest total in a record that dates back to 1960. Also notable: despite the high number of acres burned in 2012, the total number of fire was low, the least on the NIFC record. Average fire size in 2012 was the highest on the record.
The visualization above depicts fires that burned between January 1 and October 31, 2012, as detected by the MODIS instruments. Yellow and orange indicates fires that were more intense and had a larger area of active burning. Most of these intense fires occurred in the western United States, where lightning and human activity often sparks blazes that firefighters cannot contain. Many of the lower intensity fires shown in red were prescribed fires, lit for either agricultural or ecosystem management purposes.
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