Gov. Norm Bangerter has authorized use of $62,700 - the balance of the state's emergency wildfire fighting fund - to help pay six counties for fighting wildfires this year.

The authorizations are: $22,200 for Wasatch County; $17,500 for Sanpete County; $12,200 for Utah County; $5,200 for Juab; $3,600 for Summit County and $2,000 for Cache County."It's imperative that we give the counties all the support we possibly can in preventing wildfire damage," the governor said. "The wildfire season has begun and we have every reason to expect it will be a severe and lengthy one."

Last year, Utah wildfires caused more than $2 million damage, according to Bangerter.

Usually the state evaluates the counties' needs and pays half the fire suppression costs exceeding the budgeted amount for fighting wildfires.

But, Bangerter said, because of high expenses last year, division funds were depleted, making it impossible to assist all 29 counties.