Read the full story in the Washington Post.
The blazing fire that tore through Washington state’s Olympic National Forest in 2018 scorched 3,300 acres of land and destroyed dozens of valuable bigleaf maple trees. Amid the wreckage were oversized stumps with sawed-off limbs — a signal that the flames could have been a devastating casualty of a poorly planned tree heist.
Two men were responsible, federal investigators said, and the proof was in the trees’ genetic makeup.
In a first for a federal criminal trial, prosecutors used tree DNA to prove the remains matched that of the timber the men sold to local mills.