According to a recent study by Filterbuy, Virginia experienced 410 wildfires last year. Wildfires have ravaged the American West in the recent past. Of the 10 costliest wildfires on record, only two occurred prior to 2017, according to the Insurance Information Institute. And this year is shaping up to be more of the same. When considering total acres burned, 2020 was very close to being the most destructive wildfire year on record; as of the start of summer, 2021 is on pace to exceed last year’s numbers.
While lightning is an obvious cause of wildfires, the National Park Service has attributed nearly 85% of wildfires to human activity, including campfires, debris fires, powerlines, electrical malfunctions, cigarettes, and arson. When assessing the damage done by wildfires, though, lightning-caused fires have historically been more destructive. Data from the National Interagency Fire Center shows that lightning accounted for the great majority of burned acres since 2001, though there have been several years where more land area was burned by human-caused fires, including 2020.
The severity of wildfires is largely affected by climate conditions, and in 2021, several western states remain trapped in a persistent “megadrought.” Large portions of the region—including parts of Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, New Mexico, Colorado, and Oregon—face “exceptional” levels of drought, which is the U.S. Drought Monitor’s most severe category.
The analysis found that in 2020, 410 different fires burned a total of 5,596 acres of Virginia land. Although this number is significantly smaller than the heaviest hit state of California, the causes of these fires were mainly Human-caused. This is something for all Virginians to keep in mind and adhere to safety measures when burning outside.
For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Filterbuy’s website: https://filterbuy.com/resources/states-impacted-by-wildfires/