The 1910 fire in Idaho, Montana, and Washington was probably the largest in area in US history. The Peshtigo Wisconsin fire (1871) killed the most people. All the arid western states can have extensive fires; which has the largest depends on conditions. In many years, Alaska likely has larger fires than most of the western states.
In the history of the US, the largest collection of fires within 1 year occurred in the summer, 2000 in the Western U.S. including the hardest hit states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. The fire consumed about 7.2 million acres nationwide, nearly double the 10-year average.
The largest fires look to typically take place in the western US during years of severe heat and dryness.
Peshtigo, Wisconsin; Seattle, Washington; California; Texas and other locations have had some large, devastating forest fires.
The size of a wildfire depends on what fuels (vegetation type) it is burning in, the weather conditions during the fire, and how continuous the fuel (ie, vegetation is). For instance, forest fires will stop burning in any state if they run into a large area of rock, perhaps above treeline.
The area with the largest continuous fire ecosystems today (in the US) are in Alaska. Due to the remote nature of Alaska (less roads providing fire access and creating a break in the fuels) Alaska routinely has much wildland fires that cover many more acres than in the continental US or Hawaii.
The National Interagency Fire Center (based in Boise, ID) creates “Sit reports” or reports on the current wildland fire situation. These reports include fire size, resources on the fire, and structures lost. A link to sit reports going back to 1994 can be found at the link below.
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