Before the internal combustion engine, the weather was never hot and forest fires never happened. From Good Citizen at thegoodcitizen.substack.com:
We live in such magical times that fires now start themselves. Fires used to require an instigator. Historically a lightning strike was the most common instigator of wildfires and forest fires. These fires were nature’s way of cleansing and replenishing the forests in regular cycles that could take centuries to return to their former state. These natural wildfires commonly occurred in the summer months after a significant dry period, which seems self-evident, but apparently can’t be repeated often enough these days.
In the early 20th century before forest management studies settled into higher education, North American forests would burn in the tens of millions of acres each year. This hasn’t happened in any single year since 1952. In the past decade, there have been two years that barely reached the 10 million acre threshold, after nearly six decades of stable and historically very low burn acreage. Average burn acreage per year is still below the ten-year average and 90% less than 90 years ago. In the preindustrial period of 1500-1800, it’s estimated that the continental United States saw 145 million acres burned annually. You wouldn’t believe any of this of course based on recent media hysteria around fires, heat, and anything generally associated with what we used to call the season of summer.