THREE RIVERS, Calif. — Firefighters have wrapped the base of the world’s most giant tree in a fire-resistant blanket as part of an effort to save a famous grove of gigantic old-growth sequoias from wildfires burning in California’s rugged. The colossal in Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest, some other sequoias, the Giant Forest Museum, and other buildings were wrapped for protection against the possibility of intense flames, fire spokeswoman Rebecca Paterson said.
The aluminum wrapping can withstand intensive heat for short periods. Federal officials said they have used the material for several years throughout the U.S. West to protect sensitive structures from flames. Near, some homes wrapped in protective material survived a recent wildfire while others nearby were destroyed. The Colony Fire, one of two burning in Sequoia National Park and named for the area where it started, was expected to reach the Giant Forest, a grove of 2,000 sequoias, within days, said.
However, fire spokeswoman Katy Hooper said that the fire didn’t grow Thursday significantly as a layer of smoke reduced its spread in the morning. Last year, the blaze erupted after a wildfire in the region killed thousands of sequoias, some as tall as high-rises and thousands of largest in the world by volume, at 52,508 cubic feet (1,487 cubic meters). It towers 275 feet (84 meters) high and has a circumference of 103 feet (31 meters) at ground level.. According to the National Park Service, the General Sherman Tree is the
Sequoia and Kings Canyonthe massive trees from high-intensity fire during a briefing for firefighters. A 50-year history of using — 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 of flames reaching them. A “robust fire history of prescribed fire in that area is the 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 andyoung sequoias to grow. But the extraordinary intensity of — can overwhelm the trees. According to the National Park Service, that happened when the Castle Fire killed what studies estimate were 7,500 to 10,600 giant sequoias. Historic drought and heatwaves tied to have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West. 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.
A national interagencyteam 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 , and parts of the town of Three Rivers outside the main entrance remained evacuated. 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 Peyronie 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 taketo complete,” the statement said. The to warn the communities of Ponderosa, Quaking Aspen, Johnsondale, and Camp Whitsett, a Boy Scouts camp, to be ready to evacuate if necessary.
The Fire prevented it completely, requiring extensive aerial water and flame-retardant drops on both fires. The two fires were being . Antczak reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press reporter Brian Melley contributed from Los Angeles.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. The extreme steepness of the terrain around the Paradise