Trees Removed

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

The U.S. Forest Service has begun removing hundreds of thousands of burned and dying trees from two wildfire zones.

The trees are alongside 250 miles of roads and trails within the perimeter of this summer's Hayman and Schoonover fires.

Most of the trees will be left on the ground to reduce erosion and restore nutrients to the fire-scorched soil.

The Forest Service is acting under emergency rules that bar appeals of forest safety projects.

Some environmental groups have accused logging interests of using fears of wildfires as a pretext for expanded logging in national forests.

The Forest Service hopes to have most of the work done by next spring.

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Taming a Wild Fire

  • Fueled by summer temperatures and dry conditions, millions of acres of America's forests burn each year. Wildland firefighters are faced with the difficult task of containing the sprawling blazes while withstanding intense heat, poor visibility and perils of the wilderness.

  • A combined effort of agencies within the Department of Agriculture and the Department of the Interior includes thousands of full-time firefighters and volunteers, a fleet of engines, planes and helicopters and an array of technology ranging from infrared imaging to shovels.

  • There are many ways to fight a fire in the air. Specially trained firefighters, called smokejumpers, parachute into otherwise inaccessible areas of a fire during the initial stages of the attack.

  • When landing is not an options, "helitack" crews use equipment to lower slings and firefighters to the surface.

  • Large aircraft drop water or retardant in a long string to create a line. Pink dye allows the pilot to see where it lands.

  • Planes equipped with infrared mapping systems make flights before sunrise and after sunset to locate hot spots in a fire.

  • Helicopters make repeated drops, filling buckets at nearby lakes or water containers.

  • On the ground, highly trained firefighters are assigned the toughest parts of a fire. There are more than 60 hotshot crews nationwide, make up of nearly 1,400 firefighters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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