Correction: The original version of this story stated that the U.S. broke a new record for land burned in the month of August– 4.04 million acres — based on information from NOAA. However, NOAA has since issued a statement that the data was incorrect due to a data entry error. The correct figure is 2.4 million acres, which is the third-largest area burned in the month of August.
Approximately 2.4 million acres of U.S. land were charred by wildfires in August, the third-largest amount of land burned in the month, NOAA reports.
Scorching temperatures and drought conditions helped create tinderbox conditions in the Pacific Northwest, where many of the fires occurred.
Oregon and Washington state both had their hottest summers on record, while the entirety of both states faced severe to extreme drought.
Washington state was home to one of August’s “most significant” fires according to NOAA. “Burning more than 300,000 acres and destroying 176 homes, the Okanogan Complex Fire evolved into the largest fire on record for the state,” NOAA’s Climate.gov Web site reported.
The National Interagency Fire Center has maintained records for the area of U.S. land burned by wildfires since 2000.
As of the end of August, over eight million acres have burned, the most on record since 2000. The active season fits into a long-term trend towards more destructive wildfire activity.