Efforts to begin thinning Arizona's overgrown forests to reduce wildfire danger got two significant boosts in recent weeks.
The developments came even as the largest blaze in state history wiped out huge swaths of trees in the eastern part of the state.
The U.S. Forest Service asked loggers for bids on thinning more than 468 square miles in four national forests. They want the job done in 10 years.
A new draft recovery plan for the Mexican spotted owl also was published in the Federal Register. The plan now recognizes wildfires as the greatest risk to the threatened owl's recovery.
Foresters say massive thinning projects are urgently needed to stop the huge wildfires that are becoming more common across the West.