Wildfires Across the U.S.
In the last 10 years, wildfires across the country have destroyed millions of acres, led to numerous deaths, and cost billions in damages.
2011 - 2017
Wildfires are not unique to California. From 2011 to 2017 alone, deadly wildfires burned across the United States. Though not caused by sparking power lines, these fires illustrate the extent of damage that wildfires cause. Even fires that last a few days can cause millions of dollars in damages. The economic loss caused by wildfires can number in the billions of dollars as businesses, crops, livestock, and tourist attractions are destroyed. Wildfires caused by sparking power lines can be prevented by electric utility companies taking action to improve the safety of their lines.
In 2011, a series of several thousand small fires burned throughout Texas, destroying over 4 million acres, killing 10 people, and costing over $510 million in damages, with billions more lost as crops and timber were destroyed.
The Yarnell Hill Fire in Arizona, which burned for little more than ten days in June 2013, blackened a total of 8,400 acres, destroyed 129 buildings and cost about $900 million in damages. Though relatively small, the Yarnell Hill Fire led to the deaths of 19 specially trained Granite Mountain Hotshot firefighters, as well as 23 non-fatal injuries to other firefighters.
The Chimney Tops 2 Fire in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, which burned from November 23-29, 2016, killed 14 people, forced 14,000 to evacuate, destroyed or damaged 2,400 structures, and blackened 17,000 acres. The estimated cost of property damaged or destroyed in the fire was about $2 billion. Barely four months later, in March 2017, the Starbuck Wildfire burned more than 400,000 acres in 21 counties in Kansas, as well as almost one million acres across Oklahoma, in just one week. The Starbuck fire killed one person and countless livestock, damaged numerous structures, closed major roads, and forced thousands of evacuations, with property damage costing hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Eagle Creek Fire in Oregon and Washington burned from September 2, 2017 to November 30, 2017, with embers continuing to burn through May 2018. It burned nearly 50,000 acres of forest on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the Columbia River Gorge, most of which was protected land in the Columbia River Scenic Area. Hikers, sightseers, and residents were evacuated from the popular tourist spot, and the economy of the area was hard-hit as few tourists returned for months.
Prescient’s innovative wildfire risk assessment tool will help the electric utility industry to modernize to the lowest possible wildfire risk, and prevent fires from being started by sparking power lines. Contact us to learn more.