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Menaced by fires starting in an unhealthy forest crowded with 1,000 trees per acre, firefighters hope that the thinned areas around settlements will force racing, treetop crown fires to the ground, where they can fight them.

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Russian roulette in Rim Country

Forest managers scramble to prevent Rim residents from paying a fatal price for a century of mistakes

Dan Eckstein squinted up the steep slope crowded with towering, bushy junipers close on the edge of Payson. Then he casually touched the tip of his flaming torch to the closest branch.


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