Five wildfires currently burn across California. The largest of these, which covers parts of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, has already destroyed more than 230,000 acres and is the fifth largest in state history as of the time of this writing. 2017 marks the worst wildfire season on record for California, and the latest fires cap off a particularly terrible — and expensive — year for fires across the country.
Through December 8, 9.3 million acres have burned in the United States, compared to the 5.3 million burned last year, a 75% increase despite fewer fires. And with nearly four weeks left this year, 2017 has already the second most burned acreage in the United States in more than a decade.
Wildfires are far more common in the United States than many people likely realize. Even in one of the less active years for wildfires, 2016 still had a staggering 67,000 fires across the country. The 2016 fires burned a landmass roughly the size of the state of New Hampshire.
According to data collected by the National Interagency Fire Center, a group of connected federal agencies that monitor wildfires, every state except for Delaware had at least one unplanned forest fire in 2016.