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Arizona forester seeks budget increase for wildfires

CArizona’s state forester is citing a growing threat from wildfires as he requests a doubling of his agency’s budget.

The Arizona Republic reports that Forester Scott Hunt wants money to hire additional staff and to replace firefighting vehicles and communications equipment.

Hunt’s request follows a series of major fires in 2013, including the dearly Yarnell Hill Fire.

House Appropriations Chairman John Kavanagh says Hunt’s request for a $6.2 million budget increases is workable, and Kavanagh also says legislators should consider a variety of steps to reduce wildfire risk.

Kavanagh says he wants a review of 2007 proposals that called for building code changes, zoning restrictions and requirements for tree and brush removal.

Kavanagh says the proposals could draw opposition but he says there’s new willingness to tackle the issue.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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