Wildfire-related injuries and fatalities are on the rise this season in several states. Sprawling suburban growth, dry conditions and changes in land-use patterns all contribute to the problem.
Mark Stanford, chief of fire operations for the Texas Forest Service says civilian deaths alone for the current wildfire season are the highest in at least three decades in Texas. Seventeen deaths were reported for the 13-month fire season through May 1st.
Officials say the states are experiencing a deadlier wildfire season than usual with urban development pushing into rural areas and weather conditions providing dry vegetation that burns more intensely.
Stanford says this Texas fire season has been going on without stopping since April 2005.
A fire season is a period during which the long-term weather conditions -- dry and windy -- are conducive to fueling a fire. It usually breaks in the wetter months when vegetation is too green to burn.