Interior Secretary directs more aggressive approach to prevent wildfires

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WASHINGTON (AP) Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is directing all land managers and park superintendents to be more aggressive in cutting down small trees and underbrush to prevent wildfires.

In a memo on Tuesday, Zinke says the Trump administration will take a new approach and work proactively to prevent fires "through aggressive and scientific fuels reduction management" to save lives, homes and wildlife habitat.

Wildfires are chewing across dried-out Western forests and grassland, putting 2017 on track to be among the worst fire seasons in a decade.

Zinke says that to date, 47,700 wildfires have burned 8 millions acres across the country, with much of the devastation in California and Montana.

The Forest Service and Interior Department have spent more $2.1 billion so far this year fighting fires.