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Experts say decades of managing tribal forest helped stop Wallow Fire at reservation

Published: Monday, December 12, 2011

Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2012 17:01

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Brandon Quester • CNS

Butch Gregg, a forester technician with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, uses a drip torch filled with a mixture of gasoline and kerosene to light wood piles in a season-ending forest-treatment near the tribal community of McNary.

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Brandon Quester • CNS

Orlando Carroll, left, timber sales forester, and Jonathan Brooks, tribal forest manager, with the White Mountain Apache Tribe talk about the impact to tribal land from the 2011 Wallow Fire while walking near the boundary to tribal land and the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.

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Brandon Quester • CNS

Jim Pitts, a forest health and growth expert with Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, explains growth patterns in a tree that was cut in a forest-thinnning treatment.

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Brandon Quester • CNS

Jim Zornes, deputy forest supervisor with Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, points to a burn progression map of the Wallow Fire.

"The big question is: Is the Forest Service going to come along with these strategies?" McKinnon said. "And that's uncertain."

NAU's Covington said time is running out.

"We've got to get it done within the next couple of decades," he said. "If we've lost a million acres in the last decade, we could lose a lot more soon."

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