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Wildfires Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Sun March 9, 2014

(CNN) -- Here's a look at what you need to know about wildfires.

Latest Wildfire Info:

Wildland Fire Outlook - March through June 2014

About Wildfires:
Wildfires are sometimes called "wildland fires."

Wildfires can originate from a dropped match, cigarette embers, campfires, exhaust sparks from a train, or arson.

Many wildland fires are ignited by lightning.

There are no official rules, but the first responders usually name a fire after a meadow, creek, city, or type of plant they see.

Wind, temperature, and humidity all influence wildfires. Strong winds push flames toward new fuel sources. Wind can pick up and transfer burning embers and sparks, starting "spot fires."

During the day, sunlight heats the ground and warm air rises, allowing hot air currents to travel up sloped landscapes. At night, the ground cools and air currents travel down the slopes.

Humidity dampens fuel, slowing the spread of flames. Humidity is greater at night, so fires usually burn less intensely then.

Large fires can create their own winds and weather, increasing their flow of oxygen.

A really large fire can generate hurricane-force winds, up to 120 mph. The high temperatures preheat fuels in the fire's path, preparing them to burn more readily.

Timeline of Firefighter Fatalities Associated With Wildland Fires (selected):
June 26, 1990 - Six firefighters (including four volunteers on a prison work crew) are killed in the Dude Fire in Tonto National Forest, northeast of Phoenix, Arizona.

July 6, 1994 - Fourteen firefighters die in a wildfire at Storm King Mountain in the South Canyon Fire near Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

July 10, 2001 - Four firefighters die while taking shelter from the Thirtymile Fire north of Winthrop, Washington.

June 21, 2002 - Five firefighters die when the van they are riding in overturns not far from Parachute, Colorado, on the way to the Hayman Wildfire, southwest of Denver.

August 24, 2003 - Eight firefighters die when the van they are riding in crashes with a tractor-trailer west of Vale, Oregon, returning from fighting a wildfire in Boise National Forest, Idaho.

October 26, 2006 - Five firefighters die in an arson related wildfire in the San Jacinto Mountains, near Palm Springs, California.

August 5, 2008 - Seven firefighters are killed in a helicopter accident soon after taking off from the Buckhorn wildfire near Shasta Trinity National Forest, Northern California. [Three more died that month, but in other fires.]

June 30, 2013 - Nineteen firefighters are killed while fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire, northwest of Phoenix, Arizona.

Firefighter Wildland Fatalities:
(U.S Fire Administration)
2001: 15
2002: 23
2003: 29
2004: 21
2005: 19
2006: 22
2007: 11
2008: 26
2009: 16
2010: 11
2011: 10
2012: 11

U.S. Fire Season Summary:
(National Interagency Fire Center)
2000
Fires: 92,250 Acres Burned: 7,393,493
2001
Fires: 84,079 Acres Burned: 3,570,911
2002
Fires: 73,457 Acres Burned: 7,184,712
2003
Fires: 63,629 Acres Burned: 3,960,842
2004
Fires: 65,461 Acres Burned: 8,097,880*
* 2004 fires and acres do not include state lands for North Carolina
2005
Fires: 66,753 Acres Burned: 8,689,389
2006
Fires: 96,385 Acres Burned: 9,873,745
2007
Fires: 85,705 Acres Burned: 9,328,045
2008
Fires: 78,979 Acres Burned: 5,292,468
2009
Fires: 78,792 Acres Burned: 5,921,786
2010
Fires: 71,971 Acres Burned: 3,422,724
2011
Fires: 74,126 Acres Burned: 8,711,367
2012
Fires: 67,774 Acres Burned: 9,326,238
2013
Fires: 47,579 Acres Burned: 4,319,546

Largest Wildland Fires Losses:
(National Fire Protection Association)

October 1918 - Cloquet, Minnesota: $35 million in 1918 dollars.

June 1990 - Santa Barbara, California: $273 million loss in 1990 dollars.

October 1991 - Oakland, California: $1.5 billion loss in 1991 dollars.

October 1993 - Orange County, California: $528 million loss tin 1993 dollars.

May-June 1998 - Florida: $395 million loss in 1998 dollars.

May 2000 - Los Alamos, New Mexico: $1 billion loss in 2000 dollars.

October 2003 - Julian, California: $1.1 billion loss tin 2003 dollars.; and San Bernardino, California: $975 million in 2003 dollars.

October 2007 - San Diego County, California: $1.8 billion in 2007 dollars.

November 2008 - Sacramento, California: $800 million loss in 2008 dollars.

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