For those of us who are in the West, this was not a surprise when the the U.S. Forest Service announced that the 2015 wildfire season was the costliest on record, with $1.71 billion spent to fight the blazes. The previous record of $1.67 billion, adjusted for inflation, was set in fiscal year 2002.
With the season nearly over, 9.8 million acres burned in 2015, the second-highest total since records began in 1960. The winner? 2006, with 9.87 acres charred. Seven forest service firefighters died which is below the average of 18 firefighters since 2000.
Most of the fires were in the West and Alaska and the typical size was roughly equivalent to the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut combined. Over the past 10 years, the Forest Service has spent $1.13 billion on average each year to fight wildfires. That amount does not include local or state costs to fight fires.