Insurers on Wildfire Watch in 2015
April 29, 2015| By Chris Beston
Wildfires will continue to be a burning issue in many parts of the U.S. in 2015 as wildfire season fast approaches. Despite record drought conditions during much of the past two years, 2013 and 2014 had the fewest numbers of fires on record since 1994. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, in 2014 there were 63,312 wildfires in the U.S., which burned about 3.6 million acres. This was on top of 2013 when we saw 47,579 fires and 4.3 million acres burned.1 Based on the cyclical nature of wildfires in the U.S., however, don’t expect these figures to continue to remain so low in the coming months and years ahead.
One reason is that traditional wildfire seasons throughout the U.S. have been getting longer due to warmer, drier prevailing weather conditions. The traditional wildfire season in much of the U.S. has been May through October. But with current weather conditions and other factors, traditional wildfire seasons are becoming broader. An example of this can already be found in the 2015 wildfire activity. As of February 27, 2015, over 91,581 acres have burned, which is a 34% increase over that same time period in 2014.This damage has also occurred in a diverse geographic area including but not limited to California, Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi, Washington and Colorado.