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Sonora summit will explore how to deal with dead timber

A large patch of dead trees is seen in a valley in the Sierra Nevada during a helicopter tour in December 2015. Trees are dying off in large numbers throughout the Sierra due to drought and a bark beetle infestation.
A large patch of dead trees is seen in a valley in the Sierra Nevada during a helicopter tour in December 2015. Trees are dying off in large numbers throughout the Sierra due to drought and a bark beetle infestation. Fresno Bee file

A summit Friday in Sonora will deal with the millions of Sierra Nevada trees killed by drought and bark beetles in recent years.

The organizer of the free event, the Tuolumne County Alliance for Resources and Environment, urges increased logging to remove the dead timber and make the remaining trees more healthy.

The 15th annual Natural Resource Summit will run from 9 a.m. to noon in the Sierra Building at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds, off Highway 49-108 just south of downtown. Informational displays will be up from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The speakers will include two Republican lawmakers whose vast districts include the county – Rep. Tom McClintock and state Assemblyman Frank Bigelow. Also on the program:

▪ Stephanie Gomes, tree mortality deputy chief for the Pacific Southwest Region of the U.S. Forest Service

▪ Rick Carr, regional resource manager for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

▪ Rick Spurlock, chairman of the California Biomass Energy Alliance

▪ Jim Branham, executive officer for the Sierra Nevada Conservancy

▪ Steve Brink, vice president for public resources at the California Forestry Association

▪ Dan Tomascheski of Sierra Pacific Industries, which owns two sawmills and extensive timberland in the county

Mike Albrecht, president of Sierra Resource Management in Jamestown, will moderate the panel.

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