"2010 Gives West a Respite From Fire — So Far"
"You can’t say this loudly or it could jinx things. But the West has suffered far fewer wildfires than usual this year. The spring and summer of peace came precisely 100 years after the most vicious wildfires ever recorded in the West burned three million acres, destroying five towns in a single weekend. Chronicled in detail by Timothy Egan in his 2009 book “The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America,” it also killed 100 people.
But back to this century. By contrast, the number of acres burned in the 2010 fire season is less than the number burned in that one conflagration. This season still has some weeks to go, and Southern California’s Santa Ana winds can always whip small fires to frenzy when they arrive in the early fall, but it may well end up as a year in which intense, all-consuming blazes were few and far between."
Felicity Barringer reports for the New York Times' Green blog September 22, 2010.