Wildfires have consumed more than 2 million acres of U.S. land so far this year, nearly 10 times the long-term average and a punishing start to this year’s wildfire season, according to data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).
Massive grass-fed fires across Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, fueled by strong, dry winds from the southwest, claimed the lives of seven people and thousands of cattle earlier this month. While California was relieved of its worse drought conditions this winter, parts of the U.S. South and Midwest are still experiencing less-than-average rainfall. Oklahoma City, for example, has gotten only 0.01 inches of rain this month, less than 1 percent of its average March precipitation, reported USA Today.
From January 1 to March 17 of this year, some 2.1 million acres of U.S. land burned, according to NIFC data. Last year at this time, only 289,000 acres had burned. For comparison, the 10-year, January to March average is 217,000 acres.