LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) – A study indicates that land management agencies are underutilizing prescribed burns to reduce wildfire threats in the western U.S.

The Lewiston Tribune reported Friday that the University of Idaho study shows that the use of prescribed burns has decreased over the last two decades in the West while it has ramped up in southeastern states.

Professor Crystal Kolden, who authored the study, says there is less social acceptance for the practice in the western states because of the smoke, lack of funding and the occasional fire that escapes control.

Kolden says the controlled burns reduce the buildup of hazardous fuel in forests and help restore fire-prone ecosystems.

Kolden says the practice might gain better acceptance if people see its potential to improve big game habitat.

Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com

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