2013 Wildfire Season: An Overview Southwestern U.S.

2013 Wildfire Summary Report Cover

Each year numerous fires burn through the Southwest, and even for fire managers and researchers it can be difficult to keep the details of each fire straight. The public hears a great deal about fires as they burn, but rarely do they see follow up information on burn severity or comparisons between fires. This report is an attempt to fill the need for a concise, timely publication that summarizes the season’s fire details in the Southwest. The goal of this overview is to provide a single source for information on the 2013 fire season for quick reference and to move the conversation beyond the simplistic “acres burned.” More specifically, this report describes the vegetation impacted by each fire and the degree to which fires affect resources including soils, vegetation and structures.

This overview includes the four largest fires from New Mexico and Arizona: Jaroso, Silver, Thompson Ridge, and Tres Lagunas in New Mexico and Dean Peak, Doce, Soldier Basin, and Yarnell Hill in Arizona (Figure 1). These fires represent less than 1% of all fires in the Southwest, but make up 68% of the area burned by wildfire in 2013. The conclusion compares these fires and illustrates regional trends from the season. 

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