Destructive Wildfires Busting Western State Budgets

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Wildfires across several western states are proving to be expensive as flames have scorched more than 7 million acres this year, busting through budgets.

Utah has spent $50 million so far to douse the fires and clean up. The state's usual firefighting budget is $3 million a year.

Washington state officials said they expect to spend about $20 million, well above the $11 million already set aside.

Montana has spent about $25 million and gone through all of its cash reserves for natural disasters. The state will now have to use surplus money from its general funds.

There's still about a third of the annual wildfire season remaining, but according to the National Interagency Fire Center the number of fires so far are still down from the 10-year average.

So why the rising costs to put the flames out?

"The fires are bigger," NIFC spokesman Don Smurthwaite said.

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