Wildfire Season in 2016 was below average in terms of acreage with almost 62,000 fire ignitions totaling 5.3million acres (down from a record 10 million acres burned last year). But this year was especially destructive in terms of structure loss. The ten worst fires destroyed over 6,000 structures alone.
Unfortunately, every year a significant amount of such damage is due to human-caused fires which often spread quickly to structures along the wildland urban interface. This year as many as 1 in 5 fires were intentionally set. The deadliest fire of 2016, Chimney Tops 2, was started in Tennessee by two teenage boys and was ultimately responsible for 14 fatalities and at least 160 injuries.
Canada also saw its worst disaster on record with May’s Fort McMurray Fire, which cost 3.58 billion (Canadian dollars) and burned 1.46 million acres in Alberta. The cause of the fire is still unknown, but lightning has been ruled out as the source of ignition, and human activity is strongly suspected.
For further details on the 10 most destructive wildfires of 2016, see the ESRI Story Map embedded below (best viewed in Chrome or Internet Explorer):