Seeley Lake

A contract fire firefighter stands outside his truck in downtown Seeley Lake last summer.

KURT WILSON, Missoulian

GREAT FALLS — An expert says Montana's fire season last year was the largest in at least 100 years.

The Great Falls Tribune reported Thursday that meteorologist Mike Richmond says a total of 2,190 square miles burned in Montana in 2017.

Richmond, who works for the Northern Rockies Coordination Center's Predictive Services, says the state's previous top fire season was 2012, when 1,875 square miles burned.

Richmond says the Great Fire of 1910 burned an estimated 4,690 square miles in northeast Washington state, northern Idaho, and western Montana, killing 86 people. He says that year might have had more fire damage than 2017, but accurate records aren't available.

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