But then we're XXX% more than "natural", I can't remember the stat but it's like 90-somthing % of fires are human caused.I can't speak to other states, but in Montana we typically extinguish 90 - 95% of all fires on initial attack. A couple years ago I believe that stat was 94%.
So, only 5-10% of the individual fires on the landscape get so out of control they are not immediately extinguished through firefighting efforts. Obviously not all fires are created equal, and the fires that do get out of control may largely be the ones that would've burned a lot of country anyway. But I do wonder what it would be like if we ceased firefighting for one summer, and allowed 15X the fires to burn on the landscape.
Stephen Pyne has written that we live in an age he calls The Pyrocene, and we are fighting it and that very well may be fruitless.