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Maryland Department of Natural Resources: Number of Wildfires, Acreage Burned Increased in 2023

The number of wildfires and the acreage of land burned by wildfires in Maryland last year significantly outpaced the 10-year average, according to the Maryland Forest Service’s Annual Wildland Fire Report. The report, which is being released this month, covers data related to wildfires on 3.2 million acres of land overseen by the Maryland Forest Service. In 2023, these lands experienced 199 wildfires in 2023 that burned approximately 4,483 acres. Both figures were higher than the 10-year averages of 127.8 wildfires per year and 2,376 acres burned, according to Forest Service data. February 2023 was the worst month for wildfires in the state in terms of acreage burned, with approximately 3,760 acres or about 84 percent of the total wildfire acreage burned in 2023. About 517 acres burned in April, the second worst month for wildfires last year, while all other months experienced less than 100 acres burned. The most common cause of wildfires last year was debris burning, which resulted in 71 wildfires, followed by arson, which was identified as the cause of 51 wildfires. Arson-related fires caused by far the most acreage to burn, with those fires resulting in an estimated 4,157 acres burned in 2023–or about 93 percent […]

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