Dying trees prompts regulation change for loggers

PINEHURST, Calif. (KFSN) -- Concerns over dying trees in the sierra has prompted a regulation change. Cal Fire is making it easier for loggers to cut down dying trees.

These new regulations mean that loggers can come and start cutting down trees in a matter of days instead of waiting a month for the right paperwork to be filed.

Loggers are hard at work in Pinehurst, the forest is dying, creating fuel for wildfires, plus the trees, are threatening to fall.

Forester Jeff Gletne first came to the Pinehurst property in early summer. He said at the time only 10 percent of the trees were dead, in a few weeks that's all changed.

Gletne said, "About the time we moved in a whole flight of bark beetles came in and devastated this place."

The drought has created perfect conditions for bark beetles to thrive killing off weakened pines. Other trees are dying because they're thirsting for water. The conditions have prompted Cal Fire to make a regulation change. They've cut down the requirements for loggers to remove dead trees hoping to make the forest safer.

Gletne said, "Allows us to get right in while the trees are good and while the loggers available while the mills still taking logs before the winter gets here."

Mahalia Lomele moved to the mountains to live in a setting surrounded by trees.

Lomele said, "It's hard to see it sometimes because when a whole area gets changed so quickly by logging you feel like oh that's not so good but you know it'll recover."

She's had several trees cut down near her home just in case a fire comes their way. Gletne says logging will help firefighters have a better chance stopping a blaze.

"You saw driving in this is just a whole band here that's where the mortality sixty, seventy or eighty percent," explained Gletne.

Nearly 60 trucks have already hauled away one thousand trees, but trees continue to die. With 60-70 percent of the trees here dying -- this area is going to look very different once they're all cut down. The trees will grow back but it will take several decades before this area looks the same.

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