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LA GRANDE — One Northeastern Oregon resident believes there is a critical factor being overlooked by many experts for the increase in large wildfires in the West.

Jon Patterson said he is convinced that wildfires are more common today and burn hotter because there are more grasses and other vegetation in forests since fewer livestock, including cattle and sheep, are consuming it due to increasing grazing restrictions that are more stringent than they were decades ago. Vegetation once consumed by livestock, he said, now helps ignite fires.

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