Firefighters fight to save California’s giant sequoia

Three Rivers, California. – Firefighters have wrapped the roots of the world’s tallest trees in fire-resistant blankets in an attempt to save the famous virgin redwood grove from a wildfire in the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains of California.

A giant General Sherman tree in the Giant Forest of Sequoia National Park, several other Sequoia, the Giant Forest Museum and other buildings have been shrouded to protect against the possibility of intense flames, a spokeswoman for firefighters. said Rebecca Patterson.

The aluminum packaging can withstand intense heat for a short period of time. Federal officials say they have used the material for several years throughout the western United States to protect sensitive structures from the flames. Near Lake Tahoe, some homes wrapped in protective material survived a recent wildfire, while others nearby were destroyed.

According to the fire department, a colony fire, one of two burning in Sequoia National Park, is expected to reach a forest of 2,000 sequoias, the giant forest, at some point in the coming days.


However, the blaze did not increase significantly on Thursday as the smoke blanket reduced the morning’s spread, fire spokeswoman Katie Hooper said.

This was after a forest fire killed thousands of redwoods in the area last year.

According to the National Park Service, General Sherman’s tree is the largest in the world by volume at 52,508 cubic feet (1,487 cubic meters). It stands 275 feet (84 meters) high and has a circumference of 103 feet (31 meters) above the ground.

Director Clay Jordan of Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park emphasized the importance of protecting large trees from high intensity fires during the firefighter briefings.

A 50-year history of using open-pit burning (a fire deliberately started to remove other types of trees and vegetation that cause forest fires) in the park’s redwood grove reduces the impact of l arrival of the flames. It was hoped that this would help the giant tree survive.


“The strong history of open-pit burning in the area is an optimistic reason,” Patterson said. “I hope a huge forest will come out of this untouched.”

Giant sequoias are adaptable to fire and can help them thrive by releasing seeds from the corn and creating wasteland for the growth of young sequoias. However, the extraordinary intensity of fires caused by climate change can overwhelm trees.

According to the National Park Service, this happened last year when Castlefire killed what was estimated to be a 7,500-10,600 large sequoia.

Historic droughts and heat waves associated with climate change make it difficult to fight forest fires in the western United States. Scientists say climate change has made the region much hotter and drier, more extreme weather conditions, and more frequent and destructive forest fires over the past three decades.

Interdepartmental fire management teams across the country have led efforts to tackle 11.5 square miles (30 square kilometers) of paradisiacal fires and 3 square miles (8 square kilometers) of settlement fires closest to the orchards. .. Work has been carried out in the area to burn vegetation and other fuels that may generate flames.


A fire forced the park to evacuate this week, leaving part of the town of Three Rivers outside the front door.

In the south, a fire in the Tree River Indian Reservation and Giant Sequoia National Memorial significantly expanded to over 15 square kilometers overnight, and crew members failed to bring it under control, according to a release from the Sequoia National Forest. . It was.

The fire of the wind, also initiated by lightning, burned on part of the redwood gloves at the Peirone National Monument, threatening other gloves.

“Due to the inaccessible terrain, it is difficult to assess beforehand the impact of the fire on the giant sequoias of the grove, which can take several days,” the statement said.

Due to the fire, the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office has warned the Camp Whitset community of Ponderosa, Quaking Aspen, Johnsondale and Boy Scout Camps to prepare to evacuate if necessary.


The wildfires are one of the last of the longest summer flames, burning an estimated 3,550 square miles (9,195 square kilometers) in California and destroying hundreds of homes.

The crew members have limited ground access to the Colony Fires, and the terrain around the Heaven Fires is extremely steep, so they are completely protected and both fires cause huge drops of airborne and fire retardant water. I needed it. The two fires were managed together as a KNP complex.


Antczak reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press reporter Brian Mary contributed from Los Angeles.

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