The Forest Service and other public lands agencies respond to tens of thousands of wildfires per year. Each year, an average of more than 73,000 wildfires burn about 7.3 million acres of private, state and federal land and more than 2,600 structures.
Wildfires are a force of nature that can be nearly as impossible to prevent, and as difficult to control, as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods.
Wildfire can be a friend and a foe. In the right place at the right time, wildfire can create many environmental benefits, such as reducing grass, brush, and trees that can create bigger and more severe wildfires and improving wildlife habitat. In the wrong place at the wrong time, wildfire can wreak havoc, threatening lives, homes, communities, and natural and cultural resources.
The Forest Service has been managing wildfires on National Forests and Grasslands for more than 100 years. The agency has one of the largest, most diverse, best equipped, and highly trained wildfire suppression forces in the world.
Successfully managing wildfires is a year-round job that requires action before they start, while they are burning, and after they are out.
Before Wildfires Begin