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Lawsuit filed to prevent forest clearing near Frazier Park

Conservation groups have filed a lawsuit to stop the U.S. Forest Service from cutting down trees in the Frazier Park as a way of reducing the risk of wildfire.

A group calling itself the Mountain Communities for Fire Safety, joined by Los Padres ForestWatch and the John Muir Project, filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The suit says the federal government failed to perform an adequate environmental review before authorizing the removal of trees along Cuddy Valley, which the groups said could benefit the logging industry.

Monday's lawsuit is one of two legal actions aimed at preserving trees on a combined total of 2,800 acres ranging between 3,000 and 6,000 feet in altitude.

The Forest Service says many trees in the area are dead and dying and should be removed to reduce risks of wildfire. But conservationists say more should be done instead to create defensible spaces around structures, retrofit homes with fire-safe materials and enhance early-warning and evacuation systems.

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