“Overall, FY 2008 wildland fires were less numerous and burned fewer acres than 2007 and 2006 wildland fires. The 78,949 wildfires reported to the National Interagency Fire Center in 2008 burned 5.3 million acres.
“This is compared to 85,705 reported fires in 2007 that burned 9.3 million acres and the 96,385 reported fires in 2006 that burned 9.9 million acres.2 Even though the short-term trend in number of fires and total burned acres shows a decline, the federal suppression cost trend for the fires exceeding $10 million shows an increase.”
Some of the worst fires in 2008 were caused by weather: “This was the case in northern California when, over a 33-hour period in June a storm produced 5,146 lightning strikes that ignited 1,010 fires, 643 on federal lands. Lightning also ignited fires elsewhere in California and, by June 28, the state had 1,217 uncontained fires, overwhelming the fire-suppression processes and procedures of the Forest Service