Friday, January 08, 2016

A Record Amount of US Forest Went up in Flames Last Year

Wildfires across the United States blackened more than 10 million acres of land in 2015, a new record set amid an intense drought across the West, the US Department of Agriculture reported this week. Those blazes destroyed more than 4,500 buildings, and 13 firefighters died battling them, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. Government agencies burned more than $2.6 billion on firefighting costs, which consumed more than half of the US Forest Service's budget and forced the agency to shift money away from conservation and restoration projects aimed at preventing future fires, he said. The 2015 tally of 10,125,149 acres burned tops a record set in 2006, when more than 9.9 million acres were scorched. About half of last year's acreage came from Alaska, where wildfires hit more than 5.1 million acres of woodland and tundra in that vast state...more

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