Top 5 Take-Home Points from the Urban Institute's New Primer on Wildfires in U.S.

1) More than 3 million acres have burned EVERY YEAR since 1999.

The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) published stats showing more than 60,000 wildfires occurring in the U.S. each year. From 2002-2013, 3.5% of the total acreage of the 50 states burned. (That's bigger than the size of Wyoming.)

2) Incidence of wildfires has not increased, but total acres burned has.

The acreage burned per wildfire has been increasing since about 1990.  Since the mid-1980s, the number of wildfires has been lower compared to the previous time period from the 1960s to the mid-80s.

3) Wildfires are getting bigger.

There is a trend showing that the average acreage burned has increased by more than 3 acres per fire per year. This increase may seem small, but it means that in the 24 years from 1989-2013, the average size of wildfires tripled.

4) 45% of all U.S. wildfires occur in the Eastern U.S.

From 2002-2013, the eastern and western regions of the U.S. saw comparable numbers of wildfires. However, the fires in the western states accounted for 93% of the acres burned. That means lots of small wildfires are happening in the eastern states, including the Appalachian region.

5) Of all the census divisions in the U.S., the South Atlantic (NC, SC, GA, FL) has the largest number of wildfires per year. It is 3 x the national average. This region also has the highest amount of rainfall per year.

What's up with that? Check out the original article to find out more.