A year after the devastating Rim Fire, environmentalist and the timber industry are at loggerheads about what to do with the charred, dead trees left in the wake of one of California’s biggest wildfires.
Environmentalists want to see things stay as they are. They say that new growth has sprouted amid the burnt remains of the forest, providing new habitats for birds and a dozen other species. Loggers, however, want to cut down and sell the trees. It creates jobs, first, and also helps speed up the forest’s regeneration. But time is running out, the timber industry warns, the trees will start deteriorate if they aren’t cut down soon.
The Rim Fire incinerated over 257,000 acres of land in the Central Sierra Nevada region. The blaze started in August of last year, and took two months to extinguish, becoming the third largest wildfire in the history of California and the largest in the Sierra Nevada. The cause was a hunter’s illegal campfire that went out of control.
Chad Hanson, Director and staff forest ecologist of the John Muir project, an environmentalist group based in Big Bear City, Calif.
Steve Brink, Vice President of Public Resources of The California Forestry Association, which represents the timber industry