In an attempt to protect a grove of giant old-growth sequoias from wildfires blazing with California's rocky Sierra Nevada, firefighters covered the base of the world's largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket.
According to fire spokeswoman Rebecca Paterson, the gigantic General Sherman tree in Sequoia national park's big forest, as well as several other sequoias, the Giant Forest Museum, and other facilities were wrapped as protection against the risk of severe flames.
For brief periods, the aluminum covering can resist intense heat. According to federal officials, the substance has been used to safeguard important sites from fires in the US west for numerous years. For example, homes covered in protective sheeting near Lake Tahoe survived, but others close were destroyed.
Colony Fire Nearing Sequoia National Park
On Thursday, the Colony fire, one of two now burning in Sequoia National Park, was anticipated to approach the Giant Forest, a forest of 2,000 sequoias. It comes after a wildfire in the region last year burned hundreds of sequoia trees, some as tall as high-rise buildings and thousands of years old.
According to the National Park Service, the General Sherman Tree is the world's biggest volume, measuring 1,487 cubic meters. It is 84 meters tall and has a ground diameter of 31 meters.
Prescribed burns in the parks' sequoia groves, which have been used for 50 years to eliminate other types of trees and plants that might otherwise fuel wildfires, were supposed to assist the gigantic trees to survive by reducing the effect if flames reached them.
Paterson cited a "strong fire history of controlled fire in that area" as grounds for hope. "Hopefully, the Giant Forest will be unharmed as a result of this."
Protecting the Giant Trees
Fire prepped giant sequoias can help them survive by releasing seeds from their cones and creating clearings where young sequoias can develop. However, flames of unprecedented severity, fueled by climate change, can wreak havoc on the forests.
According to the National Park Service, the Castle fire last year killed between 7,500 and 10,600 giant sequoias, according to research.
Wildfires in the American west have become more challenging to put out due to a severe drought and heat waves linked to climate change. Climate change, according to scientists, has made the region warmer and drier in the last 30 years and will continue to make weather more intense and wildfires more common and deadly in the future.
This week, the park was forced to evacuate due to the flames, and portions of Three Rivers beyond the main entrance were still evacuated on Thursday. Between the fire and the neighborhood, a bulldozer was carving a line.
The flames are the most recent in a lengthy summer of fires that have burnt almost 9,195 square kilometers of California, damaging hundreds of houses.
Related Article: Why Should We Start Planting More Sequoia Trees?
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