2011 a record setting wildfire year - Tucson News Now

2011 a record setting wildfire year

Source: CLIMAS Source: CLIMAS

The following is a news release from the Climate Assessment for the Southwest.

Wildfires have abated since the monsoon began in early July and storms have helped quell many large fires, including the record-setting Wallow Fire that burned more than 538,000 acres in eastern Arizona and western New Mexico.

Between July 20 and August 16, more than 150,000 acres burned across Arizona and New Mexico, according to Predictive Services at the Southwest Coordination Center.

Since the beginning of the calendar year, more than 970,000 acres in Arizona and 1 million acres in New Mexico have burned in wildfires (Figure 8a), which is about 900,000 more acres burned then the previous record set in 2002.

In Arizona, most wildfires occurred in the central and southern parts of the state (Figure 8b), while the eastern areas of New Mexico have experienced the highest fire activity (Figure 8c).    

Photo of Year-to-date wildland fire information for Arizona and New Mexico

Photo of Map of Arizona large fire incidents
Photo of Map of New Mexico large fire incidents
As of August 18, 11 fires larger than 100 acres were burning in Arizona. Most of these were relatively small, having charred less than 5,000 acres. In New Mexico, seven fires were burning and all but one covered fewer than 300 acres; the largest fire has burned fewer than 5,000 acres.

The fires discussed here have been reported by federal, state, or tribal agencies during 2011. The figures include information both for current fires and for fires that have been suppressed. The top figure shows a table of year-to-date fire information for Arizona and New Mexico. Prescribed burns are not included in these numbers. The bottom two figures indicate the approximate locations of past and present "large" wildland fires and prescribed burns in Arizona and in New Mexico. A "large" fire is defined as a blaze covering 100 acres or more in timber or 300 acres or more in grass or brush. The name of each fire is provided next to the symbol.

(Copyright 2011 by Climate Assessment for the Southwest. All Rights Reserved.)

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