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Eye On Boise

Brewer: Arizona fires have destroyed 1% of state, ‘losses so, so great’

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber invited Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to share an update on the wildfires in her state to open this morning's Western Governors Association panel on forest health. “We now have the largest fire in our history in the state of Arizona,” Brewer said. “The destruction is vast, and the losses are … so, so great.” Already this year, 1 million acres have burned, she said. “About 1 percent of the total land mass in Arizona has already burned in this fire season alone, and the season is not even over yet,” Brewer said. Though most of the fires are now nearing containment, they won't be put out completely until the monsoon season arrives, she said. “And when those rains do arrive, they will bring flooding, and we will need to prepare for that as well.”

Brewer said, “These fires have destroyed some of the most beautiful parts of our state, and it will take years to recover. But we do know what's needed. … We need to better manage our forests to prevent this from happening again or at least to minimize the devastation.” She called for “large-scale forest restoration,” and said, “We are quickly losing opportunities to be proactive. … We know what needs to be done, quite simply we need to do it and we need to do it now.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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