(Fintech Zoom) — The world’s largest tree has been wrapped in foil to protect it against flames from a fire raging in California’s scenic Sequoia National Park.
General Sherman wrapped in foil to protect it from fire.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks
The KNP Complex Fire, which is made up of the Paradise Fire and the Colony Fire, has charred 11,365 acres, so far. Lightning on September 9 caused the initial fire and prompted Sequoia National Park to close its doors to visitors.
Park crews are preparing the Giant Forest, which is home to over 2,000 sequoias, by removing fire fuel and wrapping the trees.
“We basically told the fire crews to treat all our special sequoias like they were buildings and wrap them all up, and rake all the litter away and roll away the heavy logs,” Christy Brigham, chief of resource management and science for the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, told Fintech Zoom.
In more rugged, inaccessible terrain, crews are dropping fire retardant gel by helicopter on the groves, but due to the heavy smoke inversion, aircraft have been impeded, Brigham said.
The other issue is that the fire is burning in places where the National Park Service has no history of wildfires. That means there’s a lot of overgrowth and that could give a wildfire a lot of fuel to burn through — leading to a hotter, more intense fire that could severely impact the sequoias.
A fire-resistant wrap covers a historic welcome sign, as the KNP Complex Fire burns in Sequoia National Park, California, on Sept. 15, 2021. The blaze is burning near the Giant Forest, home to more than 2,000 giant sequoias.
Firefighters assigned to the KNP Complex Fire prepare the historic Sequoia entrance sign for the possibility of fire in the area by wrapping it with aluminum-based burn-resistant material.
From Sequoai & Kings Canyon National Parks/Instagram
The current fire has crossed the main road and is burning toward the precious giant trees, Brigham, said.
It jumped Generals Highway at Crystal Cave Road and is burning toward the Four Guardsman, the park’s Sequoia trees that lead visitors into the Giant Forest, she added.
The National Park Service has a team at the Four Guardsman who are protecting the older trees like the famed General Sherman, Brigham said.
However, Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, explained that fire is not the enemy of the giant sequoias, pointing out that these trees have lived through numerous wildfires and generally respond well to fires of moderate intensity.
Just a few months after the Castle Fire last year, a carpet of baby giant sequoias shot up from the earth where the devastating fire had occurred.
Fintech Zoom’s Stella Chan, Cheri Mossburg, Lauren M. Johnson and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.