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7 Wildfire Facts

by Meaghan Weeden June 30, 2021 2 min read

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Recent years have had record-breaking, wildfire seasons – especially on the west coast of North America. British Columbia has lost over 2.86 million (yes million!) acres to deforestation from wildfires while totals are at over 1 million acres for California in the U.S., with another 1-2 million combined in Oregon, Washington, Montana, and surrounding states. Below you can also checkout our video on why California has so many fire, which was part of our State of California video series. 

And this is just a part of the overall story, as the wildfires are raging in many regions around the world, including Brazil, Indonesia, Zambia, Greenland and many, many more (here is a forest fires map).

Here Are 7 Fun Facts About Wildfires

1. Fires Caused By Humans

About 90% of wildfires in the United States are started by humans.

2. Lightning Strikes

In a non-human world, wildfires would mostly be started by lightning strikes.

3. Yearly Fires Burn Millions of Acres

On average, more than 100,000 wildfires clear 4-5 million acres (1.6-2 million hectares) of land in the U.S. every year. In recent years, wildfires have burned up to 9 million acres (3.6 million hectares) of land.

4. Restoration

It takes an average of 2-4 years after a wildfire before reforestation efforts can begin. Saplings simply wouldn’t survive until the soil has begun to naturally replenish, can absorb water, and can support new life. It also takes time to mobilize resources for large-scale reforestation.

5. Prevention

Increases in the cost of battling active wildfires have greatly reduced the budgets available for prevention, which creates a domino effect of worsening conditions.

6. Climate Change

Climate change, as predicted, is fueling longer, stronger, and quicker-to-start wildfires.

7. Pioneer Species

After wildfires, pioneer species of plants and fungus are the first to colonize the damaged ecosystem, beginning a chain of ecological succession that leads to biodiversity and stability. When this happens, it is a sign that reforestation can begin in order to hasten recovery.

What is One Tree Planted doing, and can you help? We're connecting with our partners on the ground to establish viable reforestation projects when the recently affected regions are ready for planting. This includes Cal Fire, the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in California.

Planting trees in the areas that are ready for saplings now, including California, Oregon, British Columbia, Colorado, and Indonesia. Exploring ways to fund initiatives that are complementary to planting trees, such as education programs. And exploring more on-the-ground partnerships in the states or countries where we do not have them yet. 

You can help today by planting trees to support forest fire recovery!

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Meaghan Weeden
Meaghan Weeden

Meaghan works to share our story far and wide, manages our blog calendar, coordinates with the team on projects + campaigns, and ensures our brand voice is reflected across channels. With a background in communications and an education in environmental conservation, she is passionate about leveraging her creativity to help the environment!