Sep 8, 2015

U.S. nears costliest wildfire season on record

California
Idaho
Washington
Oregon
Alaska
USA
by
Doyle Rice
,
USA Today
Firefighter Ryan Sundberg puts out a burning tree which fell across Salmon Creek Road outside of Okanogan County, as wildfires continue to burn throughout Washington, in Omak, Wash., on Aug. 21, 2015. (Photo: Genna Martin, AP)
Firefighter Ryan Sundberg puts out a burning tree which fell across Salmon Creek Road outside of Okanogan County, as wildfires continue to burn throughout Washington, in Omak, Wash., on Aug. 21, 2015. (Photo: Genna Martin, AP)

The 2015 wildfire season is not only setting records for acres burned, it's also nearing the costliest on record. With $1.23 billion spent so far this year to fight the blazes, the U.S. Forest Service is approaching its all-time record for firefighting costs of $1.65 billion, set in fiscal year 2002 (adjusted for inflation). Due primarily to gigantic fires in Alaska, the U.S. is now approaching 9 million acres burned across the country, the National Interagency Fire Center said. That is an area larger than the state of Maryland. Only twice before has the nation topped the 9 million acre mark — in 2006 and 2007.