It’s been six months since the so-called Rim fire destroyed 257,000 acres of forest in the Sierra last summer. A drive to Yosemite via Hwy 120 will show you first hand the devastation that occurred. Eight miles east of Groveland, the charred forest looks like a direct hit from an ICBM missile. Damage estimates range from $250M to a billon. The private property value loss was estimated at between $49.7 million and $265 million. Federal funds are now available to aid in the recovery work.
Today, the verbal “heat” rages on. This time it’s between environmentalists and the Forest Service. The latter wants to harvest dead trees on 30,000 acres of the Stanislaus National Forest. Plus 50 million board feet of “hazard trees” threatening roads are also being considered. The wood can be used as any wood. Revenues from the sale of the wood could be used to help the fire recovery efforts in Tuolumne and Mariposa counties and for replanting, officials said.
The required environmental report, proposes leaving at least 170,000 acres of burned forest untouched, for beetles, woodpeckers and other wildlife that thrive in the charred snags left behind by fire. Comments on the plan are due Jan 6.
In related news, Tuolumne County District Attorney Michael Knowles said that federal prosecutors intend to charge an unnamed suspect whose illegal campfire started the fire. Fires were prohibited this year due to the high fire danger. The hunter apparently felt the ban did not apply to him and things got out of control.
Unrelated thought worth quoting: “In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.” –
MrHalfDome™ – Rick Deutsch – www.HikeHalfDome.com