Also, what defines a "typical" wildfire year in the West is changing, as spring and summer temperatures continue rising and snowpack continues to shrink. Several studies have shown that the risk of fires will increase as the climate continues to change.
For every degree Celsius the temperature rises, the size of area burned in the West could quadruple, according to the National Research Council. Temperatures in the West have been estimated to increase from 3.6 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit, Climate Central reports. In a 42-year analysis of U.S. Forest Service records for 11 Western states, Climate Central found that compared to an average year in the 1970's, there were seven times more fires in the past decade greater than 10,000 acres each year. There were more than 100 fires on average per year from 2002 to 2011, compared to less than 50 during the 1970's. (Read more)
To see Climate Central's full western wildfire report, click here. The group has also created an interactive map that shows currently burning wildfires, which can be found here.