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https://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/https://www.rawpixel.com/image/3306860U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (FS) Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Lakeside Ranger District's…Save

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (FS) Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Lakeside Ranger District's Billy Mountain timber sale where WW Cattle Guard LLC subcontractor Hiram Simpson is taking a break during switches from one piece of heavy equipment to another, near Lakeside, AZ, on Dec. 6, 2018.

This is part of the broader Four Forest Restoration Initiative, which is intended to treat more than 2.4 million acres of ponderosa pine forest across northern Arizona.

Current activity includes the use of a feller buncher to cut and then stack trees. A feller buncher then drags the trees to a worksite. There the tree branches are removed in seconds, and the delimbed tree trunk is cut to the desired length for sale by the contractor to lumber mills. The disposition of treetops and tree logs too big for the mill remain the contractor's responsibility. Post-harvest piling of slash/branches/brush are burned when fuels have cured, and weather conditions allow The ultimate goal of the timber sale is to improve forest health and reduce the potential for high-intensity wildfires that could threaten lives, property, and natural resources. The Four Forest Restoration Initiative seeks to increase resilience in the fire-adapted ponderosa pine forest by reducing tree stand densities to a more historical level, which eventually reduces the potential for uncharacteristic wildfire. This work also offers greater protection for residents living in and adjacent to the wildland-urban interface, where developments and forested areas merge.

The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, administered as one national forest, encompasses over two million acres of magnificent mountain country in east-central Arizona.

The Apache National Forest is named after the tribes that settled in this area. It ranges in elevation from 3500 feet near Clifton to nearly 11,500 feet on Mount Baldy. The congressionally proclaimed Mount Baldy, Escudilla, and Bear Wallow wildernesses and the Blue Range Primitive Area make the Apache one of America's premier backcountry Forests. The Apache is also noted for its trout streams and high-elevation lakes and meadows.

The Sitgreaves National Forest was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850âs. On the Sitgreaves, the major attractions for the visitors from the desert are the Mogollon Rim and eight cold-water lakes. From the Mogollon (pronounced: muggy-own) Rimâs 7,600- foot elevation, vista points provide inspiring views of the low lands to the south. The Rim extends two hundred miles from Flagstaff into western New Mexico.

USDA Photo by Lance Cheung. Original public domain image from Flickr

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service (FS) Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, Lakeside Ranger District's Billy Mountain timber sale where WW Cattle Guard LLC subcontractor Hiram Simpson is taking a break during switches from one piece of heavy equipment to another, near Lakeside, AZ, on Dec. 6, 2018.

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