The 2015 fire season has broken a record for national acres burned, tallying 10,125,149 acres. The previous record was in 2006 at 9,873,745 acres.
In 2015, the three largest fires were all in Alaska. Five of the top 10 were in the Pacific Northwest while the other two were in California. Among the largest blazes, some will go down in state record books. The two California fires on the list — the Valley and Butte Fires — both rank among the top 10 most destructive fires in state history. The Okanogan Fire in Washington was the state’s largest on record.
There were two common factors behind all these fires: they occurred in places that had a dry winter and warm temperatures during wildfire season. Alaska had paltry snowpack that quickly disappeared, thanks to the second-warmest spring on record for the state. For more about how wildfires are linked to a changing climate, click here.