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Study of Tripod fire reaffirms the value of thinning forests

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WINTHROP — A three-year U.S. Forest Service study confirmed what fire managers already knew: Wildfires are not nearly as deadly for trees in areas previously thinned and burned. A study of the Tripod Complex Fire — which in 2006 burned 175,000 acres from Winthrop to Conconully to Loomis — showed the fire killed more than 85 percent of the trees in parts of the forest that had not been treated. But only 43 percent of the trees died in areas where thinning and prescribed fires were used to reduce fuels. And for larger trees with an eight-inch or larger diameter, only one-quarter were killed by the fire.

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