Wildfire Increasingly an Urban Issue

Wildfires increasingly are threatening urban areas—often repeatedly—putting more homes, lives, infrastructure, and other resources at risk.

  • More than 15,000 wildfires burned in the continental United States from 2000 to 2013.
  • During these years, 127 urban areas (cities with more than 75,000 residents) were threatened by major wildfires (fires greater than 5 square miles in area) that burned within 10 miles of the city.
  • In many cases, urban areas have been threatened repeatedly by major wildfires events.
  • Cities in the West are particularly vulnerable to wildfire because the West contains conditions conducive to wildfire such as extensive and remote forest areas and frequent drought conditions.