The most common ways people spark devastating wildfires in the US
By Brian Lada, AccuWeather meteorologist and staff writer
Millions of acres of land are burned by wildfires every year across the United States, and humans are to blame for many of the blazes.
On average, there are more than 60,000 human-ignited fires every year across the United States, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
That is significantly higher than fires started by lightning. Unlike fires that are started by lightning strikes, human-caused fires are usually easy to prevent and are often the result of people not taking proper precautions.
Human-caused fires burn an area larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined each year.
Arson, equipment fires and burning debris are among the most common ways for fires to start in lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service.
While smoldering cigarettes are one of the most common triggers of human-caused wildfires, the amount of fires caused by cigarettes has decreased over the past several years.
A study conducted in 2014 investigated the decline of cigarette-caused wildfires and found that the number of fires declined by 90 percent since 1980.
The study cited cigarette designs as one of the main contributing factors to the decline in cigarette-sparked wildfires. Cigarettes are made to avoid sparking fires if they are not put out properly.
Additionally, the study stated that a reduction in smokers only accounts for a small drop in the number of wildfires caused by cigarettes.
The science of wildfires: How these destructive forces of nature create their own weather
66 million dead trees: California epidemic to create 'dire' wildfire situation in coming years
Quick tips on how to keep your home safe from wildfires
Campfires top the list of ways that humans start wildfires, the U.S. Forest Service said.
Typically, campfires either grow out of control and the people who built the fire do not have a way to stop it, or they fail to extinguish the fire properly, allowing the fire to re-ignite after they leave.
Here are five tips to follow to significantly reduce the chance of a campfire growing out of control:
1. Check with a local ranger or park office to make sure that it is safe to have a campfire.
2. Have a fire ring for your fire that is made out of stone or metal.
3. Have water readily available to put out the fire if it does begin to grow out of control.
4. Never keep firewood right next to the fire. Make sure to keep it a safe distance away if the fire manages to escape the fire ring.
5. When extinguishing a fire, make sure that it is no longer smoking, crackling or smoldering. The coals should be cold enough where you can run your hand through them safely.
For more safety and preparedness tips, visit AccuWeather.com/Ready.
Comments that don't add to the conversation may be automatically or manually removed by Facebook or AccuWeather. Profanity, personal attacks, and spam will not be tolerated.
More Weather News
Weather News - July 20, 2019, 11:29:47 PM EDT
AccuWeather checked to see if power companies are prepared for the oppressive weather and one company told us the precise temperature it's asking customers to set thermostats to during the heat wave.
Weather News - July 20, 2019, 5:45:37 PM EDT
Following the derecho that produced hurricane-force wind gusts in South Dakota and southern Minnesota on Saturday morning, new incidents of damaging winds and flooding are developing across the midwestern United States.
Stepping back in time: Mission control refurbished to the day Apollo 11 astronauts stepped foot on the Moon
Weather News - July 20, 2019, 5:22:20 PM EDT
Visiting mission control in Houston today looks exactly like it did 50 years ago when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon thanks to a long and detailed remodeling project.
Weather News - July 21, 2019, 4:58:15 AM EDT
The hot July months of the past in 2012, 2011, 1991, 1980 and 1930 will be rivaled. Forecast temperatures are 10-15 degrees above average even for the middle of summer.
Weather News - July 21, 2019, 2:30:28 AM EDT
Heat has already been blamed for the deaths of three people late last week, and more lives are in jeopardy with excessive heat warnings and advisories stretching from eastern Kansas and Oklahoma to Maine and South Carolina this weekend.
Severe storms spanning from Friday night into Saturday cut power to 365,000 from Minnesota to Michigan
Weather News - July 20, 2019, 11:18:36 PM EDT
More than 365,000 people were left without power from Friday night into Saturday when hurricane-force wind gusts hammered areas across the midwestern United States during a derecho.
Weather News - July 21, 2019, 4:55:04 AM EDT
Danas continues to bring downpours and strong winds to South Korea after making landfall on Saturday.
Weather News - July 21, 2019, 4:59:09 AM EDT
The heat wave gripping a wide swath of the United States will soon end, but not before severe thunderstorms and flooding downpours threaten communities.