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2021 Arizona wildfire season already burning more than 6 of the last 20 years

Telegraph Fire
Posted at 11:49 AM, Jun 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-10 14:49:42-04

PHOENIX — The 2021 fire season is already shaping up to be a big one. At more than 177,016 acres burned so far, this year's fire season is already claiming more land than six of the past 20 years.

In that time, the average number of fires a year is 2,227 with an average acreage of 356,862. So far, Arizona has only experienced around 132 fire incidents.

The Telegraph Fire, burning just west of Globe has already taken the number 10 spot of the state’s largest wildfires, at 84,860 acres as of June 9.

Telegraph Fire
Telegraph Fire

The largest wildfire in Arizona’s history was the Wallow Fire, which covered 538,151 acres.

The year 2011 also saw the fourth largest fire in the state’s history, the Horseshoe 2 Fire, which burned through 222,989 acres of Cochise County. It's the only fire season on record in which over 1 million acres were impacted.

When taking the top 10 fires into consideration, Arizona’s northeastern most counties of Navajo, Apache, and Greenlee have seen the most acres affected at 1,005,560 acres, made up of just the Wallow Fire in 2011 and the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2002, which is the second largest fire on record.

The central Arizona counties of Maricopa, Yavapai, Pinal, and, Gila meanwhile have seen five large wildfires in a 20-year time span that have eaten away at 762,298 acres.

In 20 years, Arizona’s wildfire seasons have reportedly consumed 6,957,401 acres so far.

This number takes into consideration 2021 season, which has only just started.

The number does not consider overlap from wildfires that can occur, such as the Bighorn Fire in 2020 and the Aspen Fire in 2003, both large enough to be on the top 10 list, but also have fire perimeters that roughly impacted the same areas around Mt. Lemmon.