Report: Rim Fire Damage May Be Up to $800M

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Smoke from the Rim Fire fills the sky on August 24, 2013 near Groveland, California. The Rim Fire continues to burn out of control and threatens 4,500 homes outside of Yosemite National Park. Over 2,000 firefighters are battling the blaze that has entered a section of Yosemite National Park and is currently 5 percent contained.

    A new report estimates that the damage to the ecosystem caused by this year's Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park may have cost the local economy $800 million.

    The report, prepared by Earth Economics for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, says trees provide a useful function by absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen, and the blaze has reduced that oxygen output.

    The value of carbon storage lost in the fire is between $102 and $797 million, the report said, using data collected in September, before the Rim Fire was extinguished.

    In addition, the fire has reduced the value of nearby private property by between $49.7 and 265 million, it said.

    The fire, started by a hunter's illegal campfire, burned across about 256,000 acres before it was contained in October.

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