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Vilsack, Jewell tour fire center amid 2013 fears

Published on May 14, 2013 3:01AM

Last changed on May 14, 2013 5:28AM

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- With another extreme Western fire season predicted, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell are visiting the National Interagency Fire Center to discuss what their agencies are doing to prepare.

Even before Monday's visit, weather forecasters at the center in Boise already laid out a grim scenario for 2013.

That's because a dry winter and signs of a warming trend have them concluding the fire activity will be above normal in West Coast states, as well as Idaho, Montana, Colorado and Arizona.

There was a record-setting fire year for some regions during the summer of 2012.

Last year, 9.3 million acres of private, state, and federal land burned in wildfires, along with more than 4,400 structures.

That was the third-highest acreage burned in 50 years.


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