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Tongass sees busy 2018 wildfire season; rest of Alaska, no

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KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) - The wildfire season was busier than usual in southeast Alaska. 

The Ketchikan Daily News reports the U.S. Forest Service responded to 32 wildfires in Tongass National Forest in 2018. 

The national forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world, usually sees 15 to 20 wildfires a year. 

Fires in the Tongass burned 63 acres (25.5 hectares), including one fire near Berners Bay north of Juneau that burned more than 50 acres (20 hectares). 

A 2-acre (0.8-hectare) wildfire at Moser Bay near Ketchikan burned for several days and cost the Forest Service about $126,000 to fight. 

Forest fire management officer Tristan Fluharty attributes the increase to warm, dry weather in 2018. 

Tim Mowry of the state Division of Forestry says acreage burned elsewhere in Alaska was below average. 

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