Marcio Jose Sanchez; Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman/WPN (inset)

Wildfires and drought

2011 News of the Year | Weather wreaks havoc in western states

Issue: "2011 News of the Year," Dec. 31, 2011

An abandoned campfire was suspected of sparking the largest wildfire in Arizona's history. The Wallow Fire started on May 29 and consumed approximately 840 square miles in Arizona and western New Mexico before it was contained in early July.

A months-long drought plaguing states from North Carolina to Arizona triggered wildfires, along with water shortages and financial losses. Texas, the hardest-hit state with its driest 12-month period on record, broke previous records with crop and livestock losses estimated at $5.2 billion.

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