As Rim Fire landscape shows signs of new life, scientists begin to assess forest management

Scientists studying the aftermath of the Sierra Nevada's most destructive wildfire in centuries say the pattern of devastation supports the need for improved forest management across the terrain of conifers and oaks.

Some of the areas of the Stanislaus National Forest most heavily denuded by California's Rim Fire were in stands of conifers replanted after fires decades ago, then left untended.

The fire slowed when it moved into neighboring Yosemite National Park, where rangers have conducted prescribed burns to mimic natural fire cycles while destroying flammable understory.

The U.S. Forest Service has not been as aggressively proactive about managing its vast acres of forestlands.

Federal forest ecologist Hugh Safford says that over the next few years study of the fire behavior could lead to improvements in forest.