HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Storms this week are dumping rain across Montana and bringing the state closer to the end of a fire season that’s been much smaller and much less expensive than 2017’s record-setting year.

Fires this year have burned 143 square miles across Montana, which is about 7 percent of the record 2,134 square miles that burned in 2017.

The cost to the state is also a small fraction of last year’s budget-busting $70 million fire season.

Department of Natural Resources and Conservation Director John Tubbs recently told the Environmental Quality Council the state’s 2018 fire suppression costs are forecast to be below $8 million.

That’s doesn’t include fires burning in national forests, parks and other federal lands. Glacier National Park’s Howe Ridge Fire alone has cost $12.4 million to date.

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