ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Experts say this year should be better than last year for wildfires in western North Carolina, when more than 50 blazes burned thousands of acres.

Rebecca Ward with the State Climate Office in Raleigh told the Asheville Citizen-Times that the mountains are been doing better than usual this year.

Ward said Asheville has had 2 inches (5 centimeters) more of rain than normal since Sept. 1. She said the area is about 7 inches (18 centimeters) above normal for the year.

The wildfire season in North Carolina usually runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 1. Forestry officials say the dry leaves to the ground are susceptible to any spark.

Brian Haines with the North Carolina Forest Service said about 40 percent of all wildfires are caused by careless debris burning.

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Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com