2018 Burn Acreage Less Than Any Year Prior To 1954

“Early in life I had noticed that no event is ever correctly reported in a newspaper.”

– George Orwell

The fire season is over, and 2018 burn acreage in the US was down 84% since 1930.


Some people try to claim that data from the 1930s isn’t accurate. They have no clue what they are talking about.

TimesMachine: October 9, 1938 – NYTimes.com

In pre-industrial times (with CO2 below 300 PPM) there was more than ten times as much burn acreage per year as there is now.

Fire Policy – Cover & TOC

The usual pack of propagandists in the press are of course claiming the exact opposite. Their job is not to report news.

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20 Responses to 2018 Burn Acreage Less Than Any Year Prior To 1954

  1. Ari says:

    This graph, all though correct , is a bit misleading- I’m pretty sure the fire-fighting abilities are much better today than those years at the beginning of the graph which directly effect the acreage burned. This doesn’t mean I think there are more fires today……

    • tonyheller says:

      Little or nothing to do with it. It was extremely hot and dry in the 1930s. Firefighters try to protect houses. They have little impact on burn acreage.

    • Colorado Wellington says:


      The 87,284 acres High Park Fire in Colorado in 2012 was a good example of today’s wildfire management.

      The incident command was immediately transferred under federal control. Modern tactics and technology like aircraft tankers, dispatch command post in a helicopter, radio and internet communications, satellite imagery and fire mapping software were used by the federal team but the strategy to contain and control the wildfire has not changed much from what would have been done a century ago.

      The crews were protecting structures, using fire breaks on private land that residents created previously in fire mitigation efforts, and building new ones to “contain” the fire and keep it away from populated areas.

      A “control” of the fire burning in the wilderness of the Roosevelt National Forest was a completely different matter. The Rocky Mountain wilderness is no more accessible today than it was centuries ago. Our modern arsenal of tools helps us see where it’s burning and predict where it is going to advance but for the most part the team has to wait until weather and natural conditions let the fire burn out.

      The extent of the burned acreage is not affected significantly by the size of land surface saved in the relatively small populated areas where crews protect structures.

      *) For in-depth information please reach out to Ms Griff, a distinguished London-based wildfire expert.

  2. DCA says:

    Strong, dry winds in California? Unprecedented!

  3. Gamecock says:

    I love pointing out that the internal combustion engine is what gave us the mobility to accomplish this great reduction.

  4. griff says:

    I notice tropical Queensland is burning…

    Not just the US.

  5. Stewart Pid says:

    Griff we had a fire in the fireplace last night …. who gives a f*ck!!!

  6. The chart is misleading
    apples and oranges
    and the conclusion is wrong !
    I’ve told you that before,
    but you repeat your mistakes,
    creating ammunition
    to attack your credibility,
    for the “CO2 is Evil Cult”.
    I’m sure they attack you
    when you don’t make mistakes too.
    Data before World War II includes
    prescribed, deliberate burns
    to clear forests.
    Between 1930 and 1950,
    15 million or more US acres
    were burned by wildfires annually.
    Most of the area burned
    during this period was in the
    Southeastern United States
    (South RPA Region),
    and were primarily
    incendiary forest fires.
    In case you didn’t know,
    an incendiary forest fire is one
    that is set intentionally
    to burn dry, dead plant matter
    that would otherwise be
    very susceptible to wildfires.
    It appears that
    much of the pre-1960 data
    were related to those
    incendiary forest fires,
    and not to true wildfires.
    For the post-1960 data,
    the National Interagency
    Fire Center explicitly separates
    wildfire data from the incendiary,
    prescribed fire data.
    That’s why I believe the chart above
    is comparing “apples to oranges”.
    Pre-1960 data
    should be ignored,
    in my opinion.
    There were two different
    wildfire acres burned trends
    AFTER 1960:
    US acres burned flat trend,
    from 1960 to 1998,
    in a period which included
    almost all the measured
    GLOBAL warming
    since 1940
    ( that warming was almost entirely
    in the 1975 to 2003 period).
    US acres burned uptrend,
    from 1998 to 2018,
    a period which included
    almost no
    GLOBAL warming,
    except for a brief
    intense, local
    El Nino Pacific Ocean
    heat release
    in late 2015,
    and early 2016,
    that has nothing
    to do with CO2
    greenhouse warming.
    There is no correlation
    of the US acres burned
    and GLOBAL warming
    measurements since 1960
    ( using weather satellite
    temperature data,
    since first available in 1979 ).

    • Gator says:

      Odd, because the National Interagency Fire Center says…

      Prior to 1983, sources of these figures are not known, or cannot be confirmed, and were not derived from the current situation reporting process. As a result the figures prior to 1983 should not be compared to later data.


      What is your source?

      • I realize NIPC says pre-1983 data
        should not be compared with
        post-1983 data.

        Using 1983 as the cut off point makes the chart
        presented in this article even more misleading.

        The US Forest Service has earlier data,
        but only for federal lands.

        Looking at the data presented on the chart,
        everything before 1950 is suspicious,
        in my opinion — I found no logical explanation
        for the huge number of acres burned before 1950
        unless prescribed fires were included.

        I think my conclusion that the chart is misleading
        is correct, whether you use 1983 or 1950 as the
        cut off date, to avoid an apples and oranges comparison.

        My primary source is below

        • tonyheller says:

          Propaganda site

          • The NIFC explicitly warns users on its website: “Prior to 1983, sources of these figures are not known, or cannot be confirmed, and were not derived from the current situation reporting process. As a result, the figures prior to 1983 should not be compared to later data.”

            Yet you deliberately ignored the NIFC and compared pre-1983 data with post 1983 data!

            The two words “propaganda site” are not an intelligent argument to defend the misleading acres burned chart on your blog.

          • tonyheller says:

            All data has errors. You don’t throw the entire data set out because of errors. You explanation from Carbon Brief is complete BS.

        • Correction:
          The correct URL was found at the website above,
          but is actually elsewhere — a 119-page study at the following URL:

          The best page for regional US wildfire data is page 20.

          On that page you will see that from 1938 to 1950,
          approximately 90% of US wildfires were in the “South”
          RPA Region, with approximately 10% in all other RPA regions — “North”, “Rocky Mountain” and “Pacific”.

          There is something unusual about the huge percentage of wildfires in the South RPA Region — prescribed, deliberate fires were being counted as wildfires.

    • tonyheller says:

      All data has errors. It is complete nonsense to suggest that 80% of the burn acreage was reported erroneously. They knew exactly what they were counting in the 1930s.

      In pre-industrial times, there was more than ten times as much burn acreage per year as there is now.

      Take your BS somewhere else.

  7. Harold says:

    So glad you are taking the time to inject some reason and historical context into the GW alarmist’s playbook. Keep up the good work.

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