The combination of frequent droughts, changing climate conditions, and longer fire seasons along with urban development expansion into wildland areas has resulted in more difficult conditions for managing wildfires. Over the last several decades, the size of wildfire burn areas has increased substantially and nine of the 10 years with the largest wildfire burn areas have occurred since 2000. Wildfires are causing more frequent and wider-ranging societal impacts, especially as residential communities continue to expand into wildland areas. Since 2000, there have been twelve wildfires in the United States that have each caused damages exceeding a billion dollars; cumulatively these twelve wildfires have caused a total of $44 billion dollars in damages. As of 2010, 44 million homes in the conterminous United States were located within the wildland-urban-interface, an area where urban development either intermingles with or is in the vicinity of large areas of dense wildland vegetation. These challenging conditions present a unique opportunity to adapt existing wildfire policy and management strategies to present and future wildfire scenarios.
The National Ground-Water Monitoring Network compiles information from over 7,000 groundwater monitoring wells across the country, including Federal, State, and local groundwater monitoring networks. Although the image above only shows the contiguous United States, the interactive map also includes wells from Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The U.S. Geological Survey conducts post-fire debris-flow hazard assessments for many major fires across the Western United States. The information from these assessments is provided in an interactive map, allowing users to view fires by location or name and access detailed maps of debris-flow probability in the area affected by each fire. Users can select fires by year back to 2013.
Each chapter of the 2018 edition of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Mineral Commodity Summaries (MCS) includes information on events, trends, and issues for each mineral commodity as well as discussions and tabular presentations on domestic industry structure, Government programs, tariffs, 5-year salient statistics, and world production and resources. The MCS is the earliest comprehensive source of 2017 mineral production data for the world. More than 90 individual minerals and materials are covered by two-page synopses.
In 2017, the estimated value of total nonfuel mineral production in the United States was $75.2 billion, a 6% increase from the revised total of $70.8 billion in 2016. The estimated value of metals production increased 12% to $26.3 billion. Higher prices contributed to some metal commodity values increasing more than 35% (cobalt, magnesium metal, and palladium). Despite this increase, some U.S. metal mines and processing facilities remained idle in 2017, including three primary aluminum smelters in Indiana, Missouri, and Washington; a titanium sponge facility in Utah; and a byproduct vanadium production facility in Utah. However, new gold mines opened in late 2016 and 2017 in Nevada and South Carolina, respectively, and iron ore mines in Michigan and Minnesota restarted or operated for the full year. The total value of industrial minerals production was $48.9 billion, a 3% increase from that of 2016. Of this total, $23 billion was aggregates production (construction sand and gravel and crushed stone). Increased oil and natural gas drilling activity resulted in increased production of some industrial mineral commodities. Limited growth in construction activity resulted in the production of some industrial minerals, especially those used in infrastructure and residential construction, to remain essentially unchanged in 2017.