If you pay attention to the news, which I wouldn’t recommend, you’d think the entire western U.S. is on fire, raging out of control, flames reaching to the sky, burning up vast swaths of landscape. Well, let’s take a closer look since hunting season is right around the corner and fire closures have a definite impact on hunting plans.
If you visit https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ you can see exactly how many fires are active across the western states we cover, how large they are and percentage of containment and if you dig you’ll find a treasure trove of information, including historical data.
There are around 60 wildfires currently burning in the 11 western states we cover in our MRS and TagHub. That looks like a lot but when I gander back at last year, it’s about the same or less and that doesn’t compare with 2006’s record breaking 10 million plus acres incinerated!
In fact, 2021 doesn’t even rank in the top 5 for acres burned or number of incidents and we’ve only been keeping track since 1983. So, I’d say we’re in pretty good shape for 2022. Especially when you look at the inciweb interactive map.
Another interesting fact is that an awful lot of the fires burning are under 1000 acres, (21 by my count).
What’s my point? Simple, we have wildfires burning across the West and some of them are large, New Mexico has a pair of real ragers, but overall this is turning out to be an average at best fire season. I’m very grateful for it too! Wildfire is a natural and important part of habitat regeneration and decades of fire suppression have taught us the dangers of living without controlled wildfires. However, we need to temper our “sky is falling” outlook when dealing with annual fire seasons and look at the facts for perspective.
As always, keeping tabs on active fires is important so you can change hunting plans if necessary and using resources like https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ will keep you informed.