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Jan 12, 2010 9:34 PM by Andy Koen

Logging for the forest service to fight wildfires

The US Forest Service is trying to better prevent catastrophic fires in our state by thinning the number of trees in the forest. They have contracted with logging companies to cut down trees in several large-acre swaths of Colorado's national forest lands.

Under a 10 year public/private forest stewardship agreement called the Front Range Fuels Treatment Partnership, some 40,000 acres of the Pikes, San Isabel, Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests will be precision logged.

Brent Botts, the District Ranger for the Pikes and San Isabel National Forests says spreading out the space between the trees breaks up the unnatural canopy that has formed in the forest the last century.

Breaking up that canopy prevents fires from jumping from tree top to tree top and makes it easier for firefighters to put them out.

"The natural process if we weren't around would be to have fires periodically started from lightning and they would cause they're own openings, because we put fires out, we need to do something to mimic mother nature and that's what we're doing," Botts said.

Forest service workers are joining the loggers at each site to identify and remove trees. Botts says the result is a forest made up of stronger and more durable trees.

"What we're doing here around Woodland Park will cause any type catastrophic fire that gets started to go from tops of the trees down to the ground where we can control it."

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