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Arizona goes out of state for logging contractor

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A Montana-based company says it will start thinning
trees in northern Arizona this winter to make furniture and other wood products.

The Arizona Daily Sun reports the U.S. Forest Service
has offered what some call one of the biggest contracts involving federal forest
land to Pioneer Associates.

The company plans to begin thinning nearly 5,000 acres of land in the Coconino
and Kaibab national forests, weather permitting.

Residents and environmental groups have expressed concerns about the impact on
wildlife and other issues.

State wildlife officials said animals face a larger risk if large wildfires
arise and the rate of forest thinning does not double.

The Forest Service said Wednesday that Pioneer Associates will create 500 jobs
and have a mill producing flooring and furniture by 2014.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, http://www.azdailysun.com/