By DON THOMPSON
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters and numerous studies credit forest thinning projects with helping to save communities like those near Lake Tahoe. But dissent from some environmental advocacy groups is roiling the scientific community. States in the U.S. West and the federal government each year thin thousands of acres of dense timber and carve broad swaths through the forest near remote communities. It’s designed to slow the spread of massive wildfires. Forest managers also credit deliberately set backfires with helping protect the Giant Forest in Sequoia National Park. But environmental advocates say data from recent gigantic wildfires support their long-running assertion that efforts to slow wildfires have instead accelerated their spread.