SONORA, Calif. (AP) — 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.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.