Intense Wildfire Season Expected for Western U.S.

Morgan O'Rourke


June 1, 2022

2022 wildfire season prediction

For 2022, AccuWeather experts predict a more severe wildfire season in the Western United States, with 68,000 to 72,000 fires and 8.1 to 8.3 million acres burned. The average from 2001 to 2020 was about 68,000 fires and 7 million acres burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. By the beginning of May, when wildfire season starts, fires had already burned 1.1 million acres—more than double the total at the same time last year.

The forecasters noted that intense wildfire seasons will become more likely in the coming years as land continues to dry out as a result of ongoing droughts and climate change. The current drought in the southwestern United States is the worst the region has experienced in 1,200 years. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 91% of the West was experiencing at least moderate drought by the end of April. Nearly 37% of the region was facing extreme or exceptional drought, characterized by widespread crop losses and water shortages.

Morgan O’Rourke is editor in chief of Risk Management and director of publications for the Risk & Insurance Management Society, Inc. (RIMS)