Western Governors Hold Fire Summit in Idaho

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons says he's meeting Monday in Boise with the governors of Idaho and Utah to talk about joint firefighting and fire prevention efforts.

Gibbons said Friday that he'll meet with Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal will participate by telephone.

Gibbons, noting Friday that Nevada already has lost over 900,000 acres this fire season, said the role of the federal government in firefighting also will be discussed.

Earlier in the week, Otter and U.S. Sens. Larry Craig and Mike Crapo of Idaho took up the cause of ranchers on the Idaho-Nevada border who blame federal grazing restrictions for allowing grass to grow tall on public land, a development they say exacerbated the huge Murphy Complex wildfires.

Gibbons last week joined with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in announcing a 23-member commission that will examine whether bureaucratic delays and government mistakes contributed to a devastating South Lake Tahoe wildfire in June.

The California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission will review land-use and other regulations affecting the Lake Tahoe basin in an attempt to prevent another catastrophic wildfire from striking the region.

The Angora fire, started by an illegal campfire, destroyed 254 homes and scorched 3,100 acres.

Gibbons said there has been "over regulation" at the resort community. Schwarzenegger said the commission will examine whether mistakes were made and, if so, how officials in both states can learn from them.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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