Terrible wildfires burning in Canada this week have blanketed parts of the American Northeast, including New York City, in a thick haze. The smoke pollution is dangerous to breathe, containing particulates that can cause all kinds of serious health problems.
Wildfires have ravaged the United States for centuries, and many experts project they will only worsen along with climate change. In the nation’s history, fires have wreaked widespread destruction in major cities and in rural areas.
Since 2000, an average of 70,072 wildfires a year have burned an average of 7.0 million acres. In the 1990s, the average acreage burned was less than half, at 3.3 million, though the average of annual wildfires was higher, at 78,600. In 2022, a reported 66,225 wildfires burned just over 7.5 million acres.