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Monster wildfire tests years of forest management efforts

In this photo provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, the Bootleg Fire burns in the...
In this photo provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, the Bootleg Fire burns in the background behind the Sycan Marsh in southern Oregon on Saturday, July 17, 2021. The destructive Bootleg Fire, one of the largest in modern Oregon history, has already burned more than 476 square miles (1,210 square kilometers), an area about the size of Los Angeles. (Bootleg Fire Incident Command via AP)(AP)
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 9:12 AM MDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The nation’s largest wildfire provided wildlife researchers in Oregon with an unexpected experiment.

Ecologists in a vast region of wetlands and forest have spent the past decade thinning young trees and using planned fires to try to restore the thick stands of ponderosa to a less fire-prone state.

As the massive inferno known as the Bootleg Fire roared into the Sycan Marsh Preserve, firefighters said the flames jumped less from treetop to treetop and instead returned to the ground, where they were easier to fight, moved more slowly and did less damage to the overall forest.

The initial assessment by firefighters suggests that the many years of forest treatments worked.

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