Worst Wildfires in United States History

Fire TrucksFires of all kinds can be devastating, whether they begin burning in densely populated urban centers, out on the fringes of a community, or even deep in the wilderness. In terms of the cost of damage incurred and the amount of money that must be spent in order to clean up, wildfires can sometimes have more significant effects than fires in more populated areas. This is due to a variety of factors, not the least of which are the facts that wild fires may burn for hours or days without being addressed, and even if they are addressed early, they can spread rapidly and cause considerable damage to the environment and communities that surround the burning area.

According to the United States Fire Administration, there were nearly 68,000 wildland fires in 2012, with a total of 9,326,238 acres affected.

Historically, wild fires have caused significant problems and tragic results across the United States. Read on to learn about some of the worst wild fires in the history of the nation.

1991: Firestorm in Oakland
This fire demonstrates how easily a wild fire can turn into a major threat for population centers, as this fire began in Berkeley Hills as a modest grass fire. However, the blaze didn’t remain modest for long, with seasonal winds encouraging the flames to consume a total of more than 1,500 acres. Unfortunately for those in Oakland, the wind pushed the fire directly into the path of residential areas, and the flames caused $1.5 billion in damage as it consumed apartments and houses alike.

2003: Cedar Fire in California

Seasonal winds also spelled trouble in 2003 for another part of California – the Cleveland National Forest. What started as a signal fire was fanned into a roaring blaze due to the convergence of the so-called Diablo and Santa Ana winds, which helped the fire take advantage of acres of brush dried out from a hot, mostly rainless summer. The Cedar Fire made short work of the dry vegetation, eventually torching more than 280,000 acres of land. The blaze could have been much worse had its location been even slightly different, as the point of origin was just 25 miles from the city of San Diego. One advantage to the proximity to high-population areas was that a variety of fire trucks could be used to battle the blaze; to see the kinds of trucks municipalities use in these situations and to find one that is suitable for your needs, visit Firetrucks Unlimited.

1988: Yellowstone’s Grant Village Fire
Yellowstone is one of the nation’s greatest natural treasures, but it suffered inconceivable losses due to fire in 1988. The massive series of fires required the assistance of 25,000 fire fighters, yet even with all of the firefighting personnel, more than 2 million acres of Yellowstone had burned. Such a substantial loss was staggering to professionals and private citizens alike, and prompted the U.S. Forest Service to tighten its guidelines surrounding controlled burns to avoid similar catastrophes.

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