New 'Future Forest Project' will thin forests, prevent wildfires

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(3TV/CBS 5) -

Arizona's forests are prone to deadly fires. Dense forests, combined with a warming and drying climate, have fueled the intensity of wildfires.

But there's a new prevention project that's thinning out our forests and shrinking costs.

"The Nature Conservancy" plans to turn our overgrown forests here in Arizona into the kind of green you can take to the bank. 

Starting next week, the "Future Forest Project" gets underway in northern Arizona, thinning out thousands of acres of ponderosa pines.

“Future Forest is about thinking differently and changing the status quo,” says Patrick Graham, Arizona’s Nature Conservancy director. “Working together, we’re going to champion strategic partnerships, deploy innovative technology, and introduce new business practices to modernize the way we restore forest health.” 

Right now, just about 15,000 acres of forest are thinned out every year in our state.

The U.S. Forest Service wants to increase that to more than 50,000.

So, they're partnering with a private timber company.

And rather than painting individual trees to be thinned, they're mapping this out on a digital tablet. They say doing this is faster and cheaper.

The Forest Service says this will cut their costs by about two-thirds an acre.

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