The Star - News, views and advertising of the Grand Coulee Dam Area

Coulee Medical Center ER and Walk-In Care

Nearly 40,000 fires have burned 7.1 million acres


Wildfire activity has escalated recently after thunderstorms, many with little or no moisture, moved across parts of California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana, sparking hundreds of new fires. The situation results in firefighting resources being stretched thin.

To date, 39,254 wildfires have burned nearly 7.1 million acres in the United States this year.

This is the earliest the number of national acres burned has been more than 7 million in the past 20 years.

Nearly 30,000 wildland firefighters and support personnel are battling wildfires in 10 states.

The number of wildfires in 2015 represents about 80 percent of the 10-year average. However, the number of current acres burned represents about a 38 percent increase over the 10-year average at this point in the year.

The National Preparedness Level has been raised to 5 for the first time since August 20, 2013, where it remained for seven days until it was dropped to 4 on August 26, 2013. This marks the fifth time that PL-5 has been reached in the last 10 years.

The fire forecast for most of the West predicts above-normal temperatures, below-normal precipitation, and continuing drought in many areas into the fall.

Communities and individuals play a critical role in preventing fires and reducing the risks associated with fire. While lightning causes many fires, many others are caused accidentally. Residents of the more than 70,000 communities at risk from wildfires are urged to take proactive steps to remove flammable materials from around their structures and improve safety by developing community wildfire protection plans. Communities and residents can access educational resources available at and through the “Firewise” and “Ready, Set, Go!” programs.

More information on the current wildland fire situation in the West and federal suppression efforts is online at

You might be interested in:

Reader Comments