Forest Service: Rule Saved Thousands Of Homes In California Fires

The chief of the Forest Service says a Bush administration rule that allowed expedited logging on national forests saved thousands of homes during the recent wildfires in California.

Gail Kimbell cited what she described as "some real vivid examples" in California where the Forest Service practice of logging without first analyzing its effect on the environment saved homes and lives.

The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the practice yesterday, saying it violated the National Environmental Policy Act. Kimbell says the administration is considering whether to appeal.

Kimbell says the rule allowing expedited logging was not abused.

She says they were very specific about where they used it.

While the 2003 rule allows logging of up to 1,000 acres without environmental review, she says most projects are closer to 40 or 50