The AP Stylebook Twitter feed (a good follow) posted this today:
Use square miles to describe the size of fires. The fire has burned nearly 4 1/2 square miles of hilly brush land. Use acres only when the fire is less than a square mile. When possible, be descriptive: The fire is the size of Denver.
They don't give a rationale, but one can guess it's because the size of an acre escapes more and more readers. However, we talk in acres because it is our wildland fire cultural and bureaucratic default. PIOs should recognize this issue and assist media and the public in understanding the size of incidents by covering both bases: "The fire is X acres, which is about the size of Y."
Occasional thoughts on incident response, crisis communications, wildland fire, and other topics.
Docendo disco, scribendo cogito.
Copyright © Jim Whittington, 2019.