Comparing Lightning-Caused and Human-Caused U.S. Wildfires
Each year, thousands of acres of land are scorched by wildfires across the United States. While most of these fires are triggered by natural causes such as lightning, some are unfortunately caused by human activity.
This graphic by Gilbert Fontana uses data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) to show the number of acres burned across the U.S. between 2001 and 2021.
|Year||Acres burned (lightning-caused fires)||Acres burned (human-caused fires)|
Historically, we can see that lightning-caused fires have led to more damage in the U.S., and this is especially true in the West region which includes states like California, Oregon, and Washington.
That said, it’s worth noting that in three out of the six years from 2016–2021, human-caused wildfires led to more damage.
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