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Rim Fire restoration offers chance for a new approach




A firefighter stands on top of a fire truck at a campground destroyed by the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
A firefighter stands on top of a fire truck at a campground destroyed by the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Monday, Aug. 26, 2013. Crews working to contain one of California's largest-ever wildfires gained some ground Monday against the flames threatening San Francisco's water supply, several towns near Yosemite National Park and historic giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/AP

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The Rim Fire last August near Yosemite National Park was the worst on record in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.

It burned 400-square miles over three months and in some areas, the flames were so hot they completely charred the entire landscape, burning everything in their path and leaving the earth a molten crust.

But despite the devastation, the forest is growing back and restoration plans are underway. Jim Branham, executive officer with the Sierra Nevada Conservancy said the first priority is deciding whether the Forest Service will allow salvage logging, a process where logging companies come in and remove the dead and burned wood.

Burn areas can provide habitat for certain species, like the black-backed woodpecker, so salvage logging can be controversial. Branham said the various stakeholders are weighing many approaches and trying to learn from past mistakes as they plan a new future for the burned forest.

View the Rim Fire on KPCC's Fire Tracker