Rampaging Wildfires that Reduced Over a Million Acres of American Land to Ashes

A helicopter dropping water

Rampaging Wildfires that Reduced Over a Million Acres of American Land to Ashes

One of the worst disasters that can occur in any area of the United States is a wildfire. Whether started by natural causes like lightning strikes, heat from the sun, or careless human activity, wildfires spread fast. They can damage thousands, if not millions, of acres before being brought under control. With this in mind, we will look at 10 of the most recent wildfires based on total acres burned.

Beaver River Fire

Beaver Creek
The Beaver River fire began on April 7, 2022.
  • Total acres burned: 20,000+ acres

The Beaver River fire began on April 7, 2022, as part of a larger wildfire that ravaged parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Dry vegetation and strong winds are believed to have started the fire, which damaged cattle grazing areas and other agricultural activities. 

Gosper and Furnas County Fire

The Gosper and Furnas County Fire covered over 30,000 acres.
  • Total acres burned: 30,000+ acres

The Gosper and Furnas County fire started in Nebraska on April 2, 2022, but spread to areas of Oklahoma, Colorado, and Texas. Over 30,000 acres were burned, along with 8 homes and 48 outbuildings. Sadly, one volunteer fire department chief also perished while battling one of the blazes. 

Crittenberg Complex Fire

Crittenburg Fire
The Crittenburg Complex Fire burned over 33,000 acres.
  • Total acres burned: 33,000 acres

The Crittenburg Complex Fire, mainly focused in Texas, burned through 33,000 acres, or roughly 52 square miles of land. Thankfully, there were no structural damages before firefighters could get the fire under control after approximately one month.

Cerro Pelado Fire

The Cerro Pelado threatened a portion of New Mexico.
  • Total acres burned: 45,605 acres

Thought to have been started on April 29, 2022, the April-May 2022 New Mexico wildfires started as separate fires. In this case, the Cerro Pelado Fire began in Jemez Springs, New Mexico, and threatened nearby communities and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Eastland Complex Fire

Eastland Fire
The Eastland Complex Fire stretched as far as Houston.
  • Total acres burned: 54,463 acres

With smoke stretching as far as Houston, the Eastland Complex Fire occurred in March 2022 and burned roughly 54,463 acres before being stopped. Sadly, this fire impacted Texas cities like Carbon and Ranger, destroying more than 50 homes and most of the town of Carbon, Texas.

Bobcat Fire

Bobcat Fire
The Bobcat Fire was one of the worst in Los Angeles County.
  • Total acres burned: 115,997 acres

One of the largest wildfires of the 2020 California wildfire season, the Bobcat Fire, started on September 6, 2020. Burning more than 115,997 acres in total over the San Gabriel Mountains, it took over two months before it was fully contained on November 27 and cost over $100 million in damage.

2021 Kansas Wildfire Outbreak

Wildfire Fire
The 2021 Kansas Wildfire outbreak crossed over 163,000 acres.
  • Total acres burned: 163,000 acres

On December 15, 2021, Kansas suffered multiple wildfires that combined to destroy over 163,000 acres. With winds gusting up to 100 MPH, the fires spread across the western and central portions of Texas, burning down multiple buildings and killing hundreds of cattle. The gusty winds also brought down power lines, sparking smaller wildfires that affected the state. 

Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak

The Calf Canyon wildfire tore through 341,000 plus acres.
  • Total acres burned: 341,471 acres

As part of the April-May 2022 New Mexico wildfires, another fire broke out on April 22, 2022. Better known as the Calf Canyon Fire, this was the largest wildfire of the year in the contiguous United States. What made it so dangerous was Calf Canyon linked up with a fire in Hermits Peak and combined to burn more than 341,000 acres between April and late June in 2022. 

Smokehouse Creek Fire

Smokehouse Creek Fire
The Smokehouse Creek Fire burned over 1 million acres.
  • Total acres burned: 1,058,482 acres

The largest wildfire of the 2020s and the largest in Texas history is best known as the Smokehouse Creek Fire. Much of the fire was in the northeast Texas panhandle, though it also spread into western Oklahoma. It was later discovered that a downed power line started the fire, destroying over 130 houses and leaving 11,000 people without power. 

September 2020 Labor Day 

The September 2020 Labor Day fire killed 37 people.
  • Total acres burned: 10,200,000

Over Labor Day 2020, the Western United States experienced several major wildfires. More than 10.2 million acres were burned across California, Oregon, and Washington. Thousands of firefighters fought the blazes, which caused over $19.88 billion in damage. In addition to the damage, 37 people were killed as a result of the combined blazes. 

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