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Despite White House rhetoric, US wildfires are burning less land this year


Daily Caller News Foundation

U.S. wildfires have burned nearly 75% less land so far this year compared to the same date in recent years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), despite White House rhetoric alleging that wildfires have intensified.

Just 777,732 acres of land have been burned as of Friday, roughly 2.3 million acres less than the average of around 3.1 million acres burned by the same date between 2013-2022, according to the NIFC, which helps coordinate the U.S. government’s response to wildfires. The White House has repeatedly referenced the “growing wildfire threat” driven by climate change in various press releases and other statements issued in the past several months

“Since taking office, I have traveled to communities across the country that have been impacted by historic wildfires,” President Joe Biden said in a July 2 statement in honor of National Wildland Firefighter Day. “I’ve met with firefighters working night and day to keep their communities safe, as fires get larger, more intense, and more difficult to control because of climate change.”

While Biden in March credited damage caused by last years’ wildfire season to climate change, his administration was directly responsible for a 341,000 acre blaze in New Mexico, which grew out of two controlled burns that the U.S. Forest Service lost control of in April, 2022, according to a USFS report. Despite the president’s initial promise that the federal government would pay “100% of the cost” borne by those affected by the disaster, his administration reneged and in some cases asked those with damaged property to pay 25% of the bill.

Last year’s fire season, in which a total of roughly 7.58 million acres of land burned, fell roughly 8% below the previous ten-year average set between 2011 and 2021 of 8.23 million acres burned, according to data from the NFIC. In terms of number of fires, last years’ 68,988 blazes was essentially flat compared to the previous ten-year average of nearly 68,668 blazes.

In a March 20 fact sheet, the White House referenced last years’ data as an example of how “changing climate has caused an increase in the number of wildfires that burn across the American West each year.” The White House did not attribute this data to the NFIC, and did not include the above 10-year average number of blazes and acres burned, which would have shown that no such increase has taken place.

White House press secretary Karine Jean Pierre similarly connected recent wildfires in Canada to “the climate crisis,” something that was “nothing new” for communities on the U.S. West Coast but was “certainly getting worse,” in a June 7 press briefing. Data from the Canadian government also pushes back against the idea that wildfires in Canada are worsening due to climate change.

This years’ relatively mild wildfire season in terms of acres burned and number of fires — the 27,303 blazes recorded thus far this year is just shy of the previous ten-year average of roughly 31,079 by the same time of year — coincides with severe heatwaves across the nation and worldwide.

The White House did not immediately respond to a Daily Caller News Foundation request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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