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US wildfire costs hit record $2.3 billion; season isn't over

FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2017, photo, a crew with California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) battles "La Tuna" brushfire on the hillside in Burbank, Calif. With multiple intense hurricanes, a powerful earthquake, wildfires and deadly flooding from Houston to India it seems that nature recently has just gone nuts. Some of these disasters, like Friday’s earthquake in Mexico, are natural. Others may end up having a mix of natural and man-made ingredients after scientists examine them. Experts in risk and psychology said we look for patterns in overwhelming things like disasters. Sometimes there’s a pattern in chaos. Sometimes there isn’t.(Matt Hartman via AP)
September 14, 2017 - 2:52 PM

DENVER - The U.S. government says it has already spent a record $2.3 billion fighting wildfires this year, and 64 major fires are still burning in 10 states.

The Forest Service, the nation's primary firefighting agency, said Thursday it has spent more than $2 billion, and the Interior Department says it has spent $345 million.

The previous record for combined federal firefighting costs was $2.1 billion in 2015.

Hot, dry weather across the Western U.S. has led to one of the worst fire seasons in a decade, and some climate scientists say global warming is partly to blame.

So far this year, U.S. fires have blackened more than 13,000 square miles (34,000 square kilometres). That's the fourth-highest in a decade, and big fires could burn for several more weeks.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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