Wildfire with increasing intensity, prompted by lightning is spreading through the dense, arid, forested Sierra Nevada, presenting threats to the ancient sequoia trees in sequoia national park.

Giant Sequoia trees burning in the Sequoia National Forest(Photo : Getty Images)

KNP Complex Fire

The Paradise fire and the Colony fire, which combined their strength together to become the KNP Complex fire, suddenly grew through over 5,860 acres of steep and terrain that is hard to reach since it started on the 9th of September in Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. It was 0% contained by Tuesday evening.

The fires are burning so seriously, making the park officials fear that the largest trees in the world could be in danger.

Fire information officer for the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, Mark Ruggiero said: "There is a threat to the groves. It is a serious threat."

The fire is incited by dried brush and dried ponderosa pine tinder - lifeless trees that had already given in to extreme drought conditions and large number of destructive insects - on Tuesday the size of the fire increased, gaining over 1,000 acres of ground.

Also Read: Giant Sequoias Under Pressure from Climate Change

Mandatory Evacuations in the Park

Officials issued mandatory evacuations in every part of the park and into portions of the Three Rivers community. The flame has found its way within a mile of the park's Ash Mountain headquarters.

A specialized emergency management team has been sent to assist the 350 firefighters already combating the fire and they will arrive in the region Wednesday, officials said, giving a signal of the development of a possible major incident. They added that with a lot of massive blazes already active across the west, resources are exhausted.

The superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon national park named Clay Jordan said: "Some of those trees are more important than our buildings, noting that the General Sherman tree - the world's largest, and one that's believed to be roughly 2,700 years old - is among them. "We want people to come 200, 300 years from now to enjoy those trees."

He said, they are going to be tested as a community, adding that it will possibly get worse before getting better.

Sequoia tree (Photo : Getty Images)


Sequoias, which extends hundreds of feet upwards and have begun to thrive in fire, are extremely resilient.

The enormous trees have developed to resist the heat, having a bark that safeguards them and seed-carrying cones that depent on fires to open. Normally, flames are said to be healthy for the forests, assisting in clearing the undergrowth so space will be created for seedlings.

But fires burning hotter and with growing intensity have presented new threats for the trees that have stayed alive there for thousands of years. In 2020, over 10% died because of the flames.

The National Park Service (NPS) scientists called the previous extreme drought between 2012 and 2016, which was combined with higher temperatures, a "tipping point for giant sequoias and other Sierra Nevada mixed-conifer forests".

Related Article: Why Should We Start Planting More Sequoia Trees?

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