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Tom McCoy, cofounder of C6 Forest to Farm, with sawmill dust that the nonprofit is using as feedstock to start up its pyrolyzer.

This story is part of the series Getting to Zero: Decarbonizing Cascadia, which explores the path to low-carbon energy for British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon. This project is produced in partnership with InvestigateWest and other media outlets and is supported in part by the Fund for Investigative Journalism.

“We don’t live in the Methow anymore,” says Gina McCoy. “We live in Mordor.”

By the last week of July, there were fires burning on both sides of the Methow River. Air quality was bad enough to make the national news. In better times, Central Washington’s Methow Valley is a destination for world-class climbing, hiking and skiing. It’s remote. It’s beautiful. But like much of the West, it’s increasingly aflame.

On Aug. 20, for the first time, Gina and her husband, Tom McCoy, fired up a machine they believe offers the best chance to reduce catastrophic wildfires in their valley — while simultaneously combating climate change, improving air quality and providing local jobs that help keep the forests healthy.

Through C6 Forest to Farm, a nonprofit they founded last year, the McCoys plan to accelerate forest restoratio... Read more

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