Parts of fire-ravaged Calif. forest to be restored

Posted April 15, 2011, at 10:07 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — Nearly two years after an arsonist ignited what became the largest fire in Los Angeles County history, officials have launched an effort to restore tens of thousands of acres in some of the most severely charred areas of the mountainous Angeles National Forest.

Against the backdrop of a rocky hillside of scrub, blackened trees and pockets of new green, the National Forest Foundation and local and federal officials on Friday announced a five-year effort to plant 3 million trees on 10,000 acres, remove invasive plants and restore the habitat on another 40,000 acres in the Big Tujunga Canyon watershed. The National Forest Foundation said it plans to raise $5 million toward the effort.

The 2009 Station Fire scorched about 161,000 acres, destroyed 89 homes and killed two firefighters. An estimated 14,000 acres were burned to deforested conditions, and it is this area that is being targeted for tree planting.

While setting aside the Angeles National Forest as a reserve was important in 1892, said Tom Tidwell, chief of the U.S. Forest Service, preserving that land is even more critical today.

 

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