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Forest Service may let more fires burn this year after coming in $400M over budget last year

After coming in $400 million over budget following last year's busy fire season, the Forest Service is altering its approach and may let more fires burn instead of attacking every one.

The move, quietly made in a letter late last month by Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, brings the agency more in line with the National Parks Service and back to what it had done until last year.

It also answers critics who said the agency wasted money and endangered firefighters by battling fires in remote areas that posed little or no danger.

Tidwell played down the change, saying it's simply an "evolution of the science and the expertise" that has led to more emphasis on pre-fire planning and managed burns.

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