Dear TSW Readers,
This is the beginning of a new approach- DIY analysis and data interpretation. I will present my data and findings, and you get to reanalyze them and come up with your own conclusions.
Here’s what data I asked for from the FS- I asked for WFU (Wildland Fire Use) acres by year. The nice folks at the National Press Office sent me this handy table, which includes prescribed fire, mechanical treatments, and other. Here’s a sample:
So I made an Xcel spreadsheet of the WFU acres, and added the NIFC total acres for that year.
Then I subtracted the WFU from the NIFC total for each year, to get what I call “unwanted wildfire acres.” Here’s the Xcel spreadsheet. It’s altogether possible I did something wrong, so perhaps you all can check it.
Here’s what I plotted.
If the data are accurate and my spreadsheet used the correct data, then the fitted line for unwanted fire acres (UWF) is almost straight from 2003 to 2022. Which means that there has been little or no increase in unwanted acres burned through time. Which is quite against what you read in the press, so check my figures!
If my data is true, here is my narrative. Despite everything we’ve read about increased fire weather and so on, our fire suppression folks have done an amazing job at keeping the unwanted acres burned basically the same for the last 20 years. They deserve a great big thank you from all of us.. oh and the correct policy solution is to… Pass The Tim Hart Act!!!!
I’m sure there are other interesting things that could be found in both the FS accomplishment table and the WFU/UWF (I think UWF should be pronounced “oof”.. just kidding). And what happened in 2016 where the WFU was almost as large as the UWF acres?