Hdozens of firefighters scramble to protect the old groves of Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia National Park in California, which are home to some of the oldest and tallest trees in the world.
Nearly 22,000 acres of Sierra Nevada forests have burned since lightning triggered a number of wildfires 10 days ago. Fueled by the combination of high winds and hot, dry weather, two of the largest fires – the Paradise and Colony Fires – have merged to form the KNP Complex Fire, which currently threatens the old growth forest in the park shared by Sequoia and Kings Canyon. National parks.
Yesterday fire crews also battled the Windy Fire, which reached Long Meadow Grove, where the famous Trail of 100 Giants is a national monument. Passing through one of the first groves in the Sequoia National Forest, the trail contains approximately 125 giant sequoias over 10 feet in diameter. The largest tree in the grove, estimated to be 1,500 years old, is 20 feet in diameter and 220 feet tall.
In recent days, park rangers have wrapped protective foil blankets around the bases of some of the tallest trees in Sequoia National Park, including the oldest and most famous. Among them, the 2,700-year-old General Sherman – the tallest living tree in the world, measuring 275 feet tall – now wears a shiny silver skirt around his 102-foot circumference.
Just before 10 p.m. Pacific time yesterday, the Los Angeles Times reported that General Sherman was still standing and officials were doing everything possible to save the venerable tree. A big plus is the “myriad of walking trails, which have given firefighters places to work,” Jon Wallace, deputy chief of fire management at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, said yesterday in his daily briefing. “All the infrastructure around the General Sherman tree, there are sprinklers on it. Firefighters run these sprinklers virtually non-stop to make sure everything stays wet. But right now all the protection efforts in the giant forest are going very well. “
“These trees adapt to fire, but not to intense fire”, Steven Bekkerus, public information manager for the KNP complex, told TUSEN affiliate in Fresno. “So we want to do everything we can to protect these trees as well as all these historic cabins that are in the national park.”
Several communities in Tulare County, including Mineral Kings and Three Rivers, were forced to evacuate. The North and East Hills of the Bay Area and the northern state of Redding in Sacramento are subject to a red flag warning issued when weather events can cause rapid spread.
In Sequoia National Park, Wuksachi Lodge and all campgrounds have been closed since noon yesterday and will remain closed until the end of the month.