A 2006 study concluded that "big fires are four times more common than they used to be; the biggest fires are six-and-a-half times larger than the monster fires of yesteryear; and owing to a warmer climate, fires are erupting earlier in the spring and subsiding later in the fall. Nowadays, the fire season is two and a half months longer than it was 30 years ago."
The data-gathering in the report, however, only ran through 2003. Since then, the western drought has intensified, and virtually every one of those recent records -- for fire size, damage, and cost of suppression -- has since been surpassed.
The  Las Conchas ...New Mexico’s largest fire...was a stunning event. Its heat was so intense that, in some of the canyons it torched, every living plant died, even to the last sprigs of grass on isolated cliff ledges. In one instance, the needles of the ponderosa pines were not consumed, but bent horizontally as though by a ferocious wind. No one really knows how those trees died, but one explanation holds that they were flash-blazed by a superheated wind, perhaps a collapsing column of fire, and that the wind, having already burned up its supply of oxygen, welded the trees by heat alone into their final posture of death.
This summer's conditions may indeed be perfect for fire in the Southwest and West, but if you think of it as a “storm,” perfect or otherwise -- that is, sudden, violent, and temporary -- then you don’t understand what’s happening in this country or on this planet.
[A] Goddard Institute for Space Studies appraisal of the heat wave that assaulted Texas, Oklahoma, and northeastern Mexico last summer... [said]The Texas heat wave, like a similar one in Russia the previous year, was so hot that its probability of occurring under “normal” conditions (defined as those prevailing from 1951 to 1980) was approximately 0.13%. It wasn’t a 100-year heat wave or even a 500-year one; it was so colossally improbable that only changes in the underlying climate could explain it. [emphasis mine]
Wildfires rage out of control in Washington, California and Idaho. So far it's worse than last year, which was terrible enough.
The west is having one of the worst wildfire seasons in decades.
"Nevada has been hammered, and Idaho has some big ones that are going to burn until the snow falls," Smith said.
"Record wildfires in Siberian forests and boglands have burned close to a half million acres during their unusually hot summer, reports Brian Dunbar at the National Atmospheric and Space Administrationwebsite."
Forests and bog land in far eastern Russia have been burning since the beginning of June 2012. Contributing to the record fires have been the record temperatures of this past summer. This summer in Siberia has been one of hottest on record. The average temperature ranged around 93 degrees Fahrenheit and there doesn't seem to be any break in the weather coming anytime soon.
Of course wildfires are devastating to any area, but ecologically this is catastrophic for this region with many rare animals living in Siberia's unique ecosystem.
So to the fires burning in Russia will have worldwide effects as the torched peat bogs whose layers consist of dead plant materials will end up releasing large quantities of carbon dioxide into the air accelerating the greenhouse effect...
An analysis of fire records going back to 1970 found that the largest fires have occurred in the last decade, a finding that points in part to the effects of climate change, researchers said.
What’s more, according to the Climate Central study of U.S. Forest Service data, the fire season is now 75 days longer than it was in the 1970s,...
Hotter years have more large wildfires.
The summer of 2012 will unfortunately be known as the "Summer of Devastating Western Wildfires" and practically not one state out west was spared. Washington State has been hardest hit of late. A new satellite image shows a rash of wildfires currently burning in the middle of the state.
Yes, the wildfire season rages on through October. 64% of the country is still is in drought or extreme drought. The Forest Service ran out of fire fighting funds. Guess how they coped.
In the worst wildfire season on record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service ran out of money to pay for firefighters, fire trucks and aircraft that dump retardant on monstrous flames. So officials did about the only thing they could: take money from other forest management programs.
But many of the programs were aimed at preventing giant fires in the first place, and raiding their budgets meant putting off the removal of dried brush and dead wood over vast stretches of land — the things that fuel eye-popping blazes, threatening property and lives.
This bodes well for next year's fire season. *eye roll*