Worst wildfire season in two decades costs Montana 400 mln USD

Source: Xinhua| 2017-10-01 11:37:25|Editor: Yamei
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 30 (Xinhua) -- The just-ended wildfire season cost the U.S. state of Montana nearly 400 million U.S. dollars, local media reported Saturday, quoting officials as saying that the state was ill-prepared for such blazes.

Following a new round of rain and snow, fire restrictions all over the northwestern U.S. state were lifted, marking the end of the latest wildfire season, the worst in 20 years.

Firefighters controlled 2,100 wildfires, which burned almost 1,900 square miles (4,920 square km), slightly more than the area burned in Montana's devastating 2012 fire season, according to local newspaper Helena Independent Record.

The report placed the cost at 393 million dollars, more than three times that of the 2012 season, which was about 113 million dollars.

Sue Clark, acting administrator of the forestry division of the Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation, was quoted as saying that the state government does not have a fully sustainable program for fire seasons such as that of this year.

Besides Montana, other states including New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado also suffered a heavy financial burden caused by wildfires this year.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said recently that more than 2 billion dollars were spent on thousands of fires across the country during the last nine months, creating a budget crisis for the Forest Service, an agency of the Department of Agriculture.

Across the country, 8.4 million acres (33,993 square km) were burned this year, about the size of Massachusetts, and of those, 2.3 million acres were on U.S. Forest Service land, he said.

At the peak of this fire season, 28,000 firefighters were active, while on average 16,000 people worked on fires around the country each day, according to the secretary.