FRESNO, Calif. - The U.S. Forest Service has decided to allow logging on nearly 52 square miles of the Sierra Nevada burned last year in a massive California wildfire, a move contested by environmentalists.
The decision released Wednesday comes one year after the Rim Fire scorched more than 400 square miles, including parts of Yosemite National Park. The blaze was the largest on record for the Sierra and the state's third largest wildfire.
Environmentalists had argued against logging the land, saying the blackened trees and new growth beneath them create vital habitat for dwindling birds such as spotted owls and black-backed woodpeckers. Supporters of the timber industry said logging would pay for replanting and restoring the forest and allow the public to use the land.