Wildfire History

For much of the 20th century, wildfire policy in the United States was all fires out by 10 A.M. This policy was instituted in 1935 and evolved out of "The Big Blowup," a firestorm that swept the Northern Rockies in the summer of 1910.

Policymaking is a reflection of the public's perceived need for change. For much of the 20th century, wildfire policy in the United States was "all fires out by 10 A.M." This policy was instituted in 1935 and evolved out of "The Big Blowup," a firestorm that swept the Northern Rockies in the summer of 1910. During this catastrophic event, 5 million acres burned and 78 firefighters were killed.

Fire suppression policy in the United States changed numerous times over the course of the 20th century in response to wildfire devastation, public values, forest health concerns and wildland-urban interface development.

Read the CSFS Report: Wildfire Policy in Transition: Where There's Smoke, There's Mirrors (29 KB PDF).

View the accompanying Presentation on Wildfire Policy in Transition (5.1 MB PDF)

Historical Wildfire Statistics for Colorado