Logging fire-damaged trees on Federal land in California's Yosemite and Stanislaus national forests could be quickly okayed under legislation introduced by Congressman Tom McClintock (R-Calif.).

With an estimated 1 billion board feet of quality timber charred by the quarter-million-acre Rim Fire, lumber and logging companies are seeking rights to fell trees in Yosemite Park and Stanislaus National Forest, about 100 miles east of San Francisco. The Rim Fire flamed out around Sept. 26.

Environmental regulations restrict salvage logging in the areas, which can slow the auction of logging rights by the U.S. Forest Service. Logging interests fear delays could stall salvage logging until the wood is unusable - one to two years before rot sets in and cell structure degrades. So Congressman McClintock introduced H.R. 3188, the Yosemite Rim Fire Emergency Salvage Act, that would make an exception and allow timber and sawmills access. 

Sierra Pacific Industries is already logging burned trees on 16,000 acres of its land, according to media reports, in tracts adjacent to Yosemite and Stanislaus National forest lands.

Separately, Sierra Pacific Industries announced Oct. 1 it would rebuild its large-log sawmill in Quincy, CA, California beginning in early 2014. The existing mill will be taken down and completely rebuilt to a more efficient configuration. Its small-log mill, planer, and co-generation plant will continue operating.

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