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Senators Merge Clear-Cutting Ban, Fire Protection Legislation

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California Senators have amended a bill that would make it cheaper and easier to thin fire-prone forests so that it now also includes a ban on clear-cutting old-growth trees.

The timber industry supported the earlier version that sailed out of the Assembly. But it´s livid over amendments it says may be a deal-killer at a time when wildfires are blazing across California.

The original bill is designed mainly to encourage property owners to remove brush and smaller trees that can carry flames quickly and spread them into the canopies of larger, more fire resistant trees.

The amendment would ban clear-cutting of virgin timber. It´s backed by environmental groups but opposed by logging companies. Opponents say the bill is likely dead unless the Senate uncouples the measure.