When the calendar rolls to May and the state’s climate reaches its peak of instability, so does the potential for serious damage fueled by Mother Nature.
But according to data compiled by Oklahoma Forestry Services, not historically from wildfires.
That changed in 2014.
Oklahoma was hit with a weeklong May wildfire breakout that hadn’t been seen for at least the last nine years. Drought and weather combined to create pristine conditions for a small spark to turn into massive blaze.
1. Here’s a closer look at the numbers — compiled by forestry services, state and federal agencies — that help make sense of wildfire trends in Oklahoma from 2005 to 2013:
– Oklahoma wildfires have burned 955,772 acres. That averages to about 106,000 acres per year.
– The state saw the highest wildfire activity in March, when 364 wildfires burned 30,184 acres in an average year.
– 174,683 acres burned in April 2009, the most in any month of any year. The most wildfires seen in one month: March 2005, when 651 blazes were sparked in the state.
– Over the past nine years, there was just 1 month with no recorded wildfire activity: July 2007.
– With more than 30,000 acres burned this May, we’ve already eclipsed the state’s total amount from all of 2013: 18,394 acres.
(Disclaimer: Mark Goeller, assistant director of Oklahoma Forestry Services, said the process of documenting burned acreage from wildfires is an imperfect system. The state created an online reporting site for fire department officials to enter that data, but its use is not required.)
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