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Science, Accidents And Disasters

California wildfires threaten famous giant sequoia trees

Firefighters have wrapped the base of the world’s largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket as they try to save a famous grove of gigantic old-growth sequoias from wildfires burning in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains

9/17/2021 7:18:00 AM

Firefighters in California have wrapped the base of the world's largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket as they tried to save a famous grove of gigantic old-growth sequoias from wildfires burning in the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Firefighters have wrapped the base of the world’s largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket as they try to save a famous grove of gigantic old-growth sequoias from wildfires burning in California ’s Sierra Nevada mountains

At least 80 wildfires rage in the WestABC News’ Ginger Zee has the latest on the wildfires burning in California, prompting new evacuations.The Associated PressTHREE RIVERS, Calif. -- Firefighters wrapped the base of the world's largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket as they tried to save a famous grove of gigantic old-growth sequoias from wildfires burning Thursday in California’s rugged Sierra Nevada.

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The colossal General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest, some other sequoias, the Giant Forest Museum and other buildings were wrapped as protection against the possibility of intense flames, fire spokeswoman Rebecca Paterson said.The aluminum wrapping can withstand intensive heat for short periods. Federal officials say they have been using the material for several years throughout the U.S. West to protect sensitive structures from flames. Near Lake Tahoe, some homes that were wrapped in protective material survived a recent wildfire while others nearby were destroyed.

The Colony Fire, one of two burning in Sequoia National Park, was expected to reach the Giant Forest, a grove of 2,000 sequoias, at some point within days. It was unclear Thursday night whether that had happened. The fire didn't grow significantly as a layer of smoke reduced its spread, fire spokeswoman Katy Hooper said.

It comes after a wildfire killed thousands of sequoias, some as tall as high-rises and thousands of years old, in the region last year.The General Sherman Tree is the largest in the world by volume, at 52,508 cubic feet (1,487 cubic meters), according to the National Park Service. It towers 275 feet (84 meters) high and has a circumference of 103 feet (31 meters) at ground level.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks Superintendent Clay Jordan stressed the importance of protecting the massive trees from high-intensity fire during a briefing for firefighters.A 50-year history of using prescribed burns — fires set on purpose to remove other types of trees and vegetation that would otherwise feed wildfires — in the parks’ sequoia groves was expected to help the giant trees survive by lessening the impact if flames reach them.

A “robust fire history of prescribed fire in that area is reason for optimism,” Paterson said. “Hopefully, the Giant Forest will emerge from this unscathed.”Giant sequoias are adapted to fire, which can help them thrive by releasing seeds from their cones and creating clearings that allow young sequoias to grow. But the extraordinary intensity of fires — fueled by climate change — can overwhelm the trees.

That happened last year when the Castle Fire killed what studies estimate were 7,500 to 10,600 large sequoias, according to the National Park Service.A historic drought and heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West. Scientists say climate change has made the region much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

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A national interagency fire management team took command of efforts to fight the 11.5-square-mile (30-square-kilometer) Paradise Fire and the 3-square-mile (8-square-kilometer) Colony Fire, which was closest to the grove. Operations to burn away vegetation and other fuel that could feed the flames were done in that area.

The fires forced the evacuation of the park this week, and parts of the town of Three Rivers outside the main entrance remained evacuated Thursday. A bulldozer was cutting a line between the fire and the community.To the south, a fire on the Tule River Indian Reservation and in Giant Sequoia National Monument grew significantly overnight to more than 6 square miles (15 square kilometers), and crews had no containment of it, a Sequoia National Forest statement said.

The Windy Fire, also started by lightning, has burned into part of the Peyrone Sequoia Grove in the national monument, and other groves were threatened.“Due to inaccessible terrain, a preliminary assessment of the fire’s effects on giant sequoia trees within the grove will be difficult and may take days to complete,” the statement said.

The fire led the Tulare County Sheriff's Office to warn the community of Johnsondale and Camp Whitsett, a Boy Scouts camp, to be ready to evacuate if necessary.The wildfires are among the latest in a long summer of blazes that have scorched nearly 3,550 square miles (9,195 square kilometers) in California, destroying hundreds of homes.

Crews had limited ground access to the Colony Fire and the extreme steepness of the terrain around the Paradise Fire prevented it completely, requiring extensive aerial water and flame-retardant drops on both fires. The two fires were being managed collectively as the KNP Complex.

Read more: ABC News »

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There’s a reason those trees are hundreds of years old, and a reason that most trees are not. Hint: it has nothing to do with climate change. This is so beyond sad. It’s a nice thought, but pretty sure trees a few thousand years old survived a few fires long before we were around to wrap them in tinfoil.

🔥🧑🏽‍🚒👩‍🚒👨🏿‍🚒 I ask in the precious name of Jesus to stop these forest fires! Please bring doers of this to justice, for they have murdered these people who have died-such a huge mistake to let them escape convictions! Is jay, ed muva, & other rebels checking in daily to the Chief of PD? Please Lord stop the burning of our forest land--those ones, occultists, devils, should never inherit the earth, ever!

Losing those would be absolutely tragic Good job Gavin. They can plant the trees whole & big in CA, but in WNY, it was done due to lightning they wrote in the News and not the Queen of England, the New Enemy...daughter just died Diana. Why not short then so we can remember our lightning? 😥

California wildfires threaten famous giant sequoia treesTHREE RIVERS, Calif. (AP) — Firefighters wrapped the base of the world's largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket as they tried to save a famous grove of gigantic old-growth sequoias from wildfires burning Thursday in California ’s rugged Sierra Nevada. Fuck I just visited the Sequoia's 2 years ago. Saw the General. Have gone up there probably 6 times in my life. Am 💙broken at the thought they could be no more. Praying for the firefighters safety & the sequoias to live on 👃👃

Something absolutely breath-taking about Giant Sequoias. Would be a horrible loss of these thousand year old trees. This aint Avatar. Relax Who started the fire This should be on the news nightly. It is a travesty beyond belief. Many of these trees are the largest in the world and have lived thousands of years. Climate change is real and no longer disputed. Time to act now!

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Sad sequoias need the fire for growth it’s okay. Why there are so many wildfires in US? I remember there was a widefire in late 2019.And I read the news on Chinese tencent news app.most of the comments jeered and screamed abuse. the same to the wildfire in Australian then. But why there are so many wildfires in US?

Sequoia National Park's Giant Trees At Risk As Wildfires GrowFire crews moved to ramp up the battle against two expanding fires threatening Sequoia National Park’s giant sequoia trees and infrastructure. 😳😧 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼 Scary.

Fires in Sequoia National Forest Close Park, Could Threaten Giant TreesFast-moving wildfires at Sequoia National Forest could potentially threaten parts of the park, including its iconic groves of giant sequoia trees, officials warned this is terrible news

Sequoia National Park Forest wraps trees in foil as wildfires approachSequoia National Park Forest officials have wrapped giant sequoia tree trunks in aluminum foil insulation due to two uncontained California wildfires that are projected to spread toward the park.Why it matters: Giant sequoias are unaffected by most wildfires, but among the trees currently under threat is The General Sherman Tree, which is approximately 2,300 to 2,700 years old. Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with Axios Markets. Subscribe for freeTravel Update: Sequ

Giant Forest trees prepped for flames in Sequoia National Park as KNP Complex fire closes in'It's a very significant area for many, many people, so a lot of special effort is going into protecting this grove.'