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Massive thinning project takes big step forward

Prescribed burning in the Kaibab National Forest is used by the US Forest Service to thin and reduce the amount of small trees that can increase the intensity of wild fires. (Photo courtesy of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative)

Prescribed burning in the Kaibab National Forest is used by the US Forest Service to thin and reduce the amount of small trees that can increase the intensity of wild fires. (Photo courtesy of the Four Forest Restoration Initiative)

FLAGSTAFF ai??i?? The U.S. Forest Service says a plan to restore 2.4 million acres along the Mogollon Rim has taken a significant step forward.

Supervisors for the Coconino and Kaibab national forests signed off an environmental impact statement last week that allows thinning and prescribed burns on nearly 590,000 acres.

The document is a result of collaboration among groups that traditionally have been adversaries when it comes to plans for reducing the threat of wildfire.

The Four Forest Restoration Initiative covers parts of four national forests in northern and eastern Arizona. Some 300,000 acres have seen some restoration work so far.

Robert Bonnie of the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the restoration work is taking place despite budget challenges within the Forest Service.

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