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Acreage burned by wildfires this year fall way below Montana average

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HELENA, Montana — Officials say the number of wildfires in Montana this year is about average, but the number of acres burned is well below the norm.

Harold Gemmell with the Northern Rockies Coordination Center told the governor's Drought and Water Supply Advisory Committee Thursday that the 19,400 acres burned so far is 20 percent of the annual average.

More than $5 million of $6.6 million total spent on firefighting has gone toward the Thompson River Complex of fires, which started Aug. 3.

The season started slowly due to a cool and wet spring.

Even with low precipitation in July, Gemmell predicts the remainder of the fire season will be pretty much normal with some "gearing back" in September.

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