A federal judge is temporarily halting fire-suppression logging efforts west of Lake Tahoe, for fear they could actually increase the fire risk at least in the short term.
The judge is siding with conservation groups that say Forest Service logging will leave the forest floor strewn with small branches and other material that would create a fire risk.
But the Forest Service argues that logging large trees killed in the August 2001 Red Star Fire will lessen the fire danger in the long run.
The judge is hearing arguments for an against a more permanent logging ban later this month.
The logging is planned about 20 miles west of Lake Tahoe, south of Interstate 80 near the Upper Middle Fork of the American River and French Meadows Reservoir.