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Rim Fire Lawsuit Back In Court

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Sonora, CA – The lawsuit to halt salvage logging in the Rim Fire footprint heads to court with much of the work still to be done.

Oral arguments in the case have been scheduled for May 11 at 9 a.m. in a 9th Circuit San Francisco courtroom.  As previously reported, last September several environmental groups, including the Center for Biological Diversity, filed a joint lawsuit to stop the implementation of the Rim Fire Record of Decision.  The decision allows for salvage logging of approximately 15,000 acres within the Rim Fire footprint in the Stanislaus National Forest.  An earlier temporary injunction by the environmental groups failed, enabling logging to continue.  Forest Spokesperson Rebecca Garcia has this update.  “At this time salvage logging continues when it can, based on weather and other safety concerns.  Ten percent of the salvage logging is complete of the volume that’s currently been sold, so much of it has been sold and it’s [the salvage logging] ongoing.”

The Record of Decision also allowed for another 17,000 acres of hazard trees to be removed along roads in the burn scar.  Garcia says the hazardous tree work has been completed but there is still much work to be done.  “There is still a considerable amount on the ground, when you take into account the Environmental Impact Statement did not cover the entire burned area.  Initially we were only looking at 25% of the burn area so there’s a considerable amount of untreated fuels on the ground, which is important to note, and we are continuing to work on that with our reforestation project that is coming up.”

In a story last week, reported on the Stanislaus National Forest firming up its plans for reforestation within the Rim Fire footprint, which included over 30,000 acres, plantation thinning on 11,000 acres, noxious weed eradication on nearly 5,000 acres, and creating 480 acres of additional deer habitat.