US wildfires could be costliest on record


LOS ANGELES: The battle against wildfires sweeping across the drought-stricken western United States, mobilizing 30,000 firefighters, could be the costliest on record with $1.23 billion spent so far, officials say. Last week alone, a record $243 million was spent fighting more than 40 massive wildfires, said US Forest Service Spokesperson Jennifer Jones, most of them in Washington state, which along with Alaska has borne the brunt of the disaster. The all-time record for firefighting costs in the US— $1.65 billion—was set in fiscal 2002. As of Friday, the flames had scorched nearly nine million acres (3.5 million hectares) so far this year, more than half in Alaska, the National Interagency Fire Center said.



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