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Feds focus on regional challenges in wildfire management


May 30, 2012: This image shows hotshots during burnout operations at the Gila National Forest blaze which grew May 31, 2012, to more than 190,000 acres, or nearly 300 square miles, as it raced across the area's steep, ponderosa pine-covered hills and through its rugged canyons in New Mexico near the Arizona border. (AP Photo/U.S. Forest Service Gila National Forest)

Federal officials are focusing on regional challenges in fire management as they deal with limited resources and an active fire season that has already blackened hundreds of square miles in states from New Mexico to Michigan.

The U.S Department of Agriculture and the Interior Department on Thursday released the latest iteration of their strategy for wildfire management.

Assessments were done for the West, the Northeast and the Southeast to identify population trends, climate changes and different priorities that will help with the creation of plans that are due next spring.

Twenty large fires are currently burning across the country. In New Mexico, the largest fire in state history has finally stalled at about 412 square miles in the Gila National Forest after burning for weeks.

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