This year’s below-average wildfire season comes as welcome news for Westerners, but it’s also burning a hole in the environmentalist narrative on climate change.
Although summer isn’t over, and fires are burning in California and Oregon, it has been a mild year in terms of the number of wildfires and acres burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
The agency reports that 2.77 million acres have burned this year as of Sept. 5, a decline from the 3.9 million acres that had burned by the same date in 2013 and less than half the 10-year average of 6.2 million acres. The number of fires, 38,451, is also down considerably from the 10-year average of 56,278.
That reduction is even more impressive given that the Pacific Northwest was hit with an above-average wildfire season. In July Washington suffered the most destructive fire in its history, the Carlton Complex Fire, which burned 252,000 acres and destroyed 300 homes in the state’s north-central region.