Wildland Fire Management

Wildfires in Maryland

In Maryland, the busiest wildfires seasons typically occur in the spring and the fall of the year. These are the transition times for natural cover fuels. In spring, with the absence of moist deciduous vegetation and forest canopy shade, the sun warms the forest floor pre-heating the fuels. In fall, an abundance of new fuel accumulates with leaf fall. Given adequate rainfall amounts throughout the state, wildfires are mostly suppressed on initial attack and can be intense but of short duration. However, unusually hot and dry conditions or drought can turn a mild fire season into a serious problem that often requires extended attack operations to completely suppress wildfires.

The volunteer and career fire departments in Maryland provide excellent initial attack response and suppress the majority of natural cover fires throughout the state. According to data from the Office of the State Fire Marshall, Maryland averages over 5,000 outdoor type fires per year. The majority of these fires are small and occurs in the central urban areas of the state. Conversely, the majority of the wildfire incidents responded to by the Maryland Forest Service are in the rural and suburban areas. The Forest Service responds on both initial and extended attack incidents with an average of 325 wildfires per year that burn 3,200 acres (10-year average). These incidents are typically larger than fires in the urban areas and often require specialized equipment and tactics to contain and control.

Wildfire Statistics for the Maryland Forest Service:

2015 Wildfire​ Summary Report
2014 Wildfire​ Summary Report
2013 Wildfire Summary Report
2012 Wildfire​ Summary Report
2011 Wildfire Summary Report
2010 Wildfire Summary Report
2009 Wildfire Summary Report
2008 Wildfire Summary Report
2007 Wildfire Summary Report
2006 Wildfire Summary Report
2005 Wildfire Summary Report
2004 Wildfire Summary Report