SISTERS, Ore. (AP) — Thinning of forests in Central Oregon, where towns and subdivisions sit in a green ocean of Ponderosa and lodgepole pines, has saved homes amid one of the most devastating wildfire seasons in the American West.

The work of the Deschutes Collaborative Forest Project with the U.S. Forest Service shows the potential of forest thinning. It also shows how loggers and environmentalists, normally bitter enemies, can join forces. And it highlights the challenges of replicating the forest thinning across the West.

The Deschutes Collaborative is one of 23 projects in the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration program, created by Congress in 2009. Overcoming suspicions and stereotypes was one of its first hurdles. Now the group and its backers want more forest restoration done.

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