The NOAA site has compiled data from 1996 to 2016 to show the trends of wildfire losses. According to the data sets presented on the NOAA site about severe weather conditions including wildfires, the losses are staggering. NOAA’s working definition of fire weather is, “A large destructive fire that spreads over woodland or brush.”
Since 1996, wildfires have caused 13.4 billion dollars in total damage, 195 fatalities, and 2,100 injuries. Of the 23 total severe weather categories for which NOAA collects data, wildfire losses are ranked as seventh. If you divide it by year, the total loss for each year is a staggering 648 million dollars. Historically, the most destructive month for wildfires is the month of October. On the other hand, the month with the highest rate of fatalities was June, with 51 deaths occurring since 1996. The most disconcerting statistic was that the highest rate of fatalities occurs in the age group 20-29. California was the state with the highest death rate due to wildfires.
Many of the very destructive wildfire events they reported on were human caused. The year with the highest number of wildfire events was 2011. As we enter a new year, we look to new tools for wildfire response and new research about how homes ignite. Data collected from past experience and new research, new tools and resources are being developed by the NFPA and others to help reduce the risk of loss due to wildfires.
The tables are from the NOAA website.