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Dry Spring Feeds Fire Worries Across U.S
By Sue Schwendener, Reuters, May 6, 2000

As dry weather tightened its grip on the central United States, experts warned of the dangers of wildfires in parched wilderness areas, grasslands and even along roadsides and in residential areas. Already nearly 1,200 square miles have been scorched by fires across the country, an area about one-third larger than usual at this time of year, according to the National Fire Information Center in Boise, Idaho. And early May is normally just the beginning of the fire season, experts said. While blazes in Michigan, Florida and Arizona have been contained for the moment, new wildfires erupted this week in Minnesota and Indiana. ... In northwestern Wisconsin, forestry experts cautioned there was the threat of a wildfire on 50,000 acres (20,240 hectares) of National Forest lands where trees were also blown down in last July's windstorms. ... The outlook was ominous across the country. Very high to extreme fire dangers were seen in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Oklahoma, Texas, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, said Lorraine Buck of the National Fire Information Center. Florida has reported eleven large fires and hundreds of smaller fires through the end of April.

Record-setting U.S. Wildfire Season
CNN News, August 19, 2000

This year's record-setting U.S. wildfire season crossed another threshold when the U.S. Forest Service on Saturday urged retired firefighters to join some 19,000 civilian and military personnel battling scores of fires throughout the Western United States. Overall, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported 92 major fires burning in the country on nearly 1.1 million acres. So far this year, fires have burned 5.22 million acres, the worst fire season in at least a half-century.