6 forests halt tree-cutting activities due to order on owls

New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Six national forests in New Mexico and Arizona have suspended firewood collection permit sales, timber sales, thinning and prescribed burns because of a federal court order related to a threatened owl.

A Forest Service statement released Thursday says the affected forests include all five in New Mexico and Tonto National Forest in Arizona.

U.S. District Judge Raner Collins’ Sept. 11 order halted tree-cutting activities on the six forests until federal agencies get a better handle on how to monitor the population of the Mexican spotted owl and its habitat.

Collins’ order didn’t define timber management activities, only saying they cause irreparable harm and include timber harvesting.

The Forest Service said it may be able to provide people who collect wood for fuel with potential alternative options in their areas.

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