Sunday, July 9, 2017

Current Wildfires in the United States

Boulder, Colorado has had "smokey" air for the past week.  The sky is hazy and you smell smoke as soon as you step outside or open your windows.  Even though we had good late snows, the prolonged heat and dry breezes and winds suck the moisture out of everything.  We have three plants on the balcony that I soak every morning, until water runs into the containing saucer, but they are dry as a bone the following morning.
    We have frequent small fires that our local firefighters quench as fast as they can.  Yesterday someone tossed a burning cigarette butt into the dry brush near a trail head on Flagstaff Mountain.  It burned 5 acres, but was under control, and then out quickly.  During the summer we have small fires like this on a daily basis in almost every county of the state - and sometimes there are six or more that have started in each county every day.
   I've been having problems breathing with my asthma and COPD, and am not out walking as much as I should be - but, I can breathe much easier staying inside with the humidifier on.  In any event, I decided to do some research on what is burning where in my country.  I have left out of my information burns that were scheduled to clear underbrush and fires that are less than 50 acres in area.  Even so, the number of wildfires and the areas that have burned, or are now burning is astonishing to me.
   Out west, eleven states have wildfires, and the Okeefenokee Swamp in Georgia is still smoldering.  Here is a list of states with fires, and the acreage involved:
Alaska  -         69,814 acres
Arizona  -      171,718 acres
California -      24,922 acres
Colorado -       34,411 acres
Idaho  -          191,643 acres
Montana -        10,447 acres
Nevada -        227,396 acres
New Mexico    81,220 acres
Utah  -              72,252 acres
Washington -        700 acres
Wyoming -         1,962 acres
The Okeefenokee Swamp in Georgia has   152, 515 acres  that are burning or smoldering.

Altogether, that adds up to 1,039,000 acres burning.  One million thirty-nine thousand acres equals 1,623.43 square miles.  The state of Rhode Island is a little larger than 1,000 square miles.  The state of Delaware is only 330 square miles greater in area than the areas currently on fire in the western United States and Georgia.
   That, to me, is mind-boggling.

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