Friday, May 24, 2024

Triple-I Blog | 2024 Wildfires Expected to Be Up From Last Year, But Still Below Average


The 2024 U.S. wildfire season is expected to be more damaging than 2023 but below the historical average in terms of the number of fires and acres burned, according to AccuWeather.

AccuWeather’s wildfire team predicts fires across the country will burn between 4 and 6 million acres of land in 2024, below the historical average of around 7 million acres. Last year, U.S. wildfires in the United States burned 2,693,910 acres – the fewest acres burned since 1998, when around 1.3 million acres were scorched, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

“Stormy weather lingering over the Northwest into the latter part of spring will put a lid on both wildfires and the measures humans take to suppress the fire danger,” AccuWeather reported. “Prescribed burns may be put on hold in the Northwest during May and early June due to above-average precipitation.” 

California has been home to some of the worst fires in the United States over the past decade, but – thanks to a wet and stormy winter – AccuWeather says wildfires will likely be limited until later in the summer. 

At the same time, AccuWeather meteorologists said the Texas Panhandle and other nearby areas of the southern Plains face a high to extreme risk of significant fires in 2024.

“The largest fire so far this year was in Texas, where a rapidly spreading grassfire fueled by powerful winds scorched more than 1 million acres, left at least two people dead, and killed at least 7,000 head of cattle,” AccuWeather said.

The annual monsoon is a key factor affecting wildfires across the southwestern United States.

“Monsoon-induced thunderstorms can be a double-edged sword,” AccuWeather says. “Downpours and an uptick in humidity can help crews battle and contain wildfires, while lightning strikes can trigger new infernos.”

AccuWeather says the start of the monsoon season in 2024 is likely to be slow at first before picking up in July and August.

Learn More:

Triple-I “State of the Risk” Issues Brief: Wildfire

Triple-I “Trends and Insights” Issues Brief: California’s Risk Crisis

Despite High-Profile Events, U.S. Wildfire Severity, Frequency Have Been Declining



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