Perfect pairing: Forest thinning and firewood for Navajo families

By Peter Aleshire
Payson Roundup
February 15, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Once upon a time, the Navajo, Apache other tribes burned the forest to protect it. The centuries of deliberately set fires helped maintain an open, grassy forest dominated by big trees. …Then came the US Forest Service. And so for the last century, the Forest Service worked to put out every fire it could to save the timber for loggers and the grass for cattle. The result: A forest of tree thickets, mortally vulnerable to giant fires. So it is ironic that the wheel has come full circle. Now the Salt River Project in partnership with the National Forest Foundation has announced a $500,000 plan to thin the tree thickets on some 3,600-acres in Pine Canyon and Deadman Mesa. The Valley utility company will also donate $25,000 per year to Wood for Life, which provides firewood to families on the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

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