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Report estimates Rim Fire damage up to $800 million

  • Inmate firefighters walk along Highway 120 after a burnout operation as firefighters continue to battle the Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, Calif., on Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

SONORA — 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.

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