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Plan to slow Western wildfires would clear strips of land

SALT LAKE CITY — The Trump administration is proposing an ambitious plan to slow Western wildfires by bulldozing, mowing or revegetating large swaths of land along 11,000 miles (17,700 kilometres) of terrain in the West.

The plan announced this summer would create strips of land known as “fuel breaks” on about 1,000 square miles of land (2,700 square kilometres) managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in an area known as the Great Basin in parts of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah.

The estimated cost range for the project is about $55 million to $192 million up front and up to $107 million annually to maintain them.

Wildfire experts say the program could help slow fires, but it won’t help with the most extreme fires that can jump these strips of land. The breaks could fragment wildlife habitat.

Brady McCombs, The Associated Press