"Wildfires are unplanned and unwanted fires. Wildfires can have some beneficial impacts on an ecosystem, but also often threaten homes and communities and force the evacuation of thousands of people. Wildfires are often caused by lightning strikes, and may also occur when a prescribed burn escapes control or through unauthorized human activities (deliberate or accidental). Over the last 10 years (2008-2017), wildfires have burned 6.6 million acres annually on average in the United States. In 2017, more than 71,500 wildfires burned 10.0 million acres and destroyed more than 12,300 structures nationwide. More than 65% (8,065) of the structures destroyed were residences, and nearly 90% of the structures destroyed (11,000) were in a single state, California. Congress and other stakeholders have considered options for federal support and assistance to address wildfire suppression during a fire, post-wildfire recovery in the aftermath, and land management activities to reduce the risk of future catastrophic wildfires."
CRS In Focus, IF10732