Hazard a Guess? The riskiest science quiz you will ever take!

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In what year did the United States experience the most acres burned from wildfires (on record)?

  1. 1984
  2. 1991
  3. 2015

To see the answer, scroll down below the image.

A wildfire in a forest
Fire is a natural part of the boreal forest, which is an ecosystem dominated by black and white spruce. Photo Credit: S.T. Rupp, Alaska Climate Science Center

 

The correct answer is 2015. The 10 million acres that burned in the United States in 2015 were the most on record, primarily due to drought conditions. The national average has been 6.7 million acres for the past 10 years, and 3.6 million acres were burned in 2014. Wildfires serve a vital role in nature unless, as is the case now, they are unusually intense, widespread or frequent. Wildfire risks to firefighters, homes and property, and threats to communities, landscapes and species are increasing, as are response and recovery costs. Alaska was of particular concern last year, as over five million acres were blackened by intense wildfires. Fire is expected occasionally in Alaska, but a growing number and frequency of large fires have occurred the past three years.

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