Feds say Southwest, Northwest could see catastrophic fires

DENVER (AP) - Despite a wet spring over much of the nation, the Obama administration is warning of potentially catastrophic wildfires this summer, especially in the Southwest and Northwest.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell discussed wildfire threats and fire outlook Tuesday in Denver.

Jewell says drought and climate change are increasing wildfire danger.

Federal fire managers say heavy precipitation in May reduced the likelihood of wildfires this month across much of the nation, but the danger will increase from July through September.

The Agriculture and Interior departments say federal firefighting costs are expected to range from $1.1 billion to $2.1 billion. The high end would exceed their combined firefighting budget of about $1.4 billion.

If that happens, they would have to transfer money from programs meant to reduce long-term fire danger.

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