Wildfires in the U.S: National Preparedness Level 4 – What does this mean?

We are now reaching into the beginning months of Fall and still there are wildfires burning on a National Scale – Currently, we are at National Preparedness Level 4. As of yesterday, 68 large fires have burned 3,170,602 acres in 12 states. The Windy Fire in southern California was active yesterday. Most of the large fires and complexes in the Northwest and Northern Rockies displayed minimal fire activity due to recent rain throughout the areas.

National Preparedness Level 4, What is it?

There are 5 levels of National Preparedness when it comes to wildfires in the United States. Each year it seems this issue has been growing and has now become almost a regular part of the news-cycle- however, there is nothing normal about the current circumstances. Level 1 is minimal fire activity, level 2 occurs when large wildlands begin to burn, level 3 is ongoing fire activity throughout a quarter of the country, level 4 (our current situation) is when much of the country is experiencing and areas are competing for firefighting resources, level 5 occurs when the majority of national firefighting efforts are being used due to large amount of fire activity in the country.

An Increasing Issue in Quantity & Elevation

The wildfires have been heavily affecting areas in Southern California- specifically in South Lake Tahoe where the fires have burned from one side of the Sierra to the other, reaching elevations of 8,000 feet or higher. With much of SoCal being forested the dangers of the fires are very apparent- not only are fires burning higher and for longer, they’ve only increased in the passing years. 2019 saw a record low of wildfires with 38,181 fires in total at 4,350,463 acres- this year the number is at 45,339 fires in total at 5,700,268 acres. (last year while less fires burned they went for longer periods of time, at a total of 43,785 fires at 7,012,294 acres.) 

For more facts & statistics about Wildfires in the United States