Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that wildfires burned a record 10,125,149 acres across the United States last year. The 2015 total eclipsed the previous record, which was set in 2006. Of last year’s blazes, more than 50 exceeded 50,000 acres, and 20 exceeded 100,000 acres. In addition, more than 4,500 homes and other structures were destroyed. Tragically, 13 wildland firefighters, including seven U.S. Forest Service firefighters, perished in the line of duty. Vilsack cited these figures on Jan. 6 when he renewed his plea for Congress to pass the bipartisan Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, which is budget neutral and has broad stakeholder support.
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