‘Wood For Life’ project is preventing wildfires and helping 2 Arizona tribes

Wood from forest thinning in Arizona is being donated to two tribal communities.
Published: May. 18, 2023 at 7:52 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- A new project is preventing potentially catastrophic wildfires in Arizona forests and helping two of the state’s tribal communities. Arizona Lottery and the National Forest Foundation teamed up for the “Wood For Life” program, and volunteers began cleanup efforts in the Coconino National Forest near Flagstaff on Thursday.

The program begins with volunteers taking downed trees from forests to lower the risks of fires. The wood is then given to the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe communities, which they can use as firewood or to build homes. Forest rangers say the program will go a long way in helping tribal members heat their houses. “So we had this big need and we had a lot of trees here, so really we were able to sync up. They need wood, we have wood. And then we’re able to get partners like the National Forest Foundation to help us get the wood from here to there,” one forest ranger said.

In some cases, the wood has to be shipped 100 miles to its final destination, but the National Forest Foundation is assisting by driving it out to the reservations. In addition, the Arizona Lottery is giving $50,000 to help fund the project.