US Forest Service to fight small fires harder

DULUTH, Minn. (AP) -- The U.S. Forest Service is at least temporarily suspending a policy of letting fires burn in the national forest system in hopes of saving resources spent on fighting infernos that start small and grow out of control.

The Duluth News Tribune reports the Forest Service will get much more aggressive about suppressing small fires in the wilderness.

Such a policy likely would have prevented last year's Pagami Creek Fire near Ely, which burned slowly at first but after unexpectedly hot and windy weather it grew to consume 93,000 acres and cost $23 million to fight.

Superior National Forest supervisor Brenda Halter says the directive came down last month as the national forest system's firefighting operation was stressed with huge fires in Colorado and other western states.

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