Home Somerset county Thousands of giant sequoias killed in California wildfires

Thousands of giant sequoias killed in California wildfires


Lightning-triggered wildfires have killed thousands of giant redwood trees this year, adding to a two-year toll that represents nearly a fifth of the tallest trees on Earth, officials said.

Fires in Sequoia National Park and the surrounding national forest which is also named after the tree have ravaged more than a third of the groves in California and burned an estimated 2,261 to 3,637 redwoods, which are the largest trees in volume.

Fires in the same region last year killed an unprecedented 7,500 to 10,400 of the 75,000 trees that are native to only about 70 groves scattered along the western side of the Sierra Nevada range.

The historic General Sherman tree is protected from fires (Gary Kazanjian / AP)

Intense fires that burned strong enough and high enough to kill so many giant sequoias – trees once thought to be nearly fireproof – underscore the impact of climate change.

The combination of global warming that created hotter droughts and a century of fire suppression that smothered forests with thick undergrowth fueled fires that sounded the death knell for trees that date back to the ancient civilizations.

“The sad reality is that we have seen yet another huge loss within a finite population of these iconic trees that are irreplaceable in many lives,” said Clay Jordan, Director of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

“As spectacular as these trees are, we really can’t take them for granted. To make sure they are there for our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, some action is needed.

California has seen its biggest fires in the past five years, with last year setting a record for most area burned. So far, the second largest area of ​​land has burned down this year.

After last year’s castle and SQF complex fires took authorities by surprise as they wiped out so many redwoods, extraordinary measures have been taken to save the biggest and oldest trees this year.

The General Sherman tree – the largest living being on earth – and other ancient trees that serve as the backdrop for photos that often fail to capture the grandeur of giant sequoias were wrapped in a foil blanket.

A type of fire-retardant gel, similar to the one used as an absorbent in baby’s diaper, has been deposited on the canopy of trees that can be over 200 feet in height. The sprinklers thinned the trunks and the flammable material was scraped away from the trees.

The measures spared the Giant Forest, the park’s first grove of ancient trees, but the measures could not be deployed everywhere.

Most of the Suwanee Grove in the park burned down in an extreme fire in the marble fork of the Kaweah River drainage. The famine complex grove in Sequoia National Forest was largely destroyed, based on estimates of the amount burned at high severity.