Crews are struggling to save California’s iconic giant sequoias from a lightning-caused wildfire that’s heading toward old-growth forests in the Sierra Nevada
Firefighters wrapped the base of the world’s largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket as they tried to save a famous grove of gigantic old-growth sequoias from wildfires burning in California’s rugged シエラネバダ
The colossal General Sherman Tree 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 say they have been using the material for several years throughout the U.S. West to protect sensitive structures from flames. Near タホ湖 some homes that were wrapped in protective material survived a recent wildfire while others nearby were destroyed.
The Colony Fire, one of two burning in Sequoia National Park was expected to reach the Giant Forest, a grove of 2,000 sequoias, at some point within days, 消防当局は言った.
しかしながら, the fire didn’t grow significantly Thursday as a layer of smoke reduced its spread in the morning, fire spokeswoman Katy Hooper said.
It comes after a wildfire killed thousands of sequoias, some as tall as high-rises and thousands of years old, in the region last year.
The General Sherman Tree is the largest in the world by volume, で 52,508 cubic feet (1,487 cubic meters), による 国立公園局 It towers 275 足 (84 メートル) high and has a circumference of 103 足 (31 メートル) at ground level.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks Superintendent Clay Jordan stressed the importance of protecting the massive trees from high-intensity fire during a briefing for firefighters.
A 50-year history of using prescribed burns — 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 if flames reach them.
A “robust fire history of prescribed fire in that area is 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 and creating clearings that allow young sequoias to grow. But the extraordinary intensity of fires — fueled by climate change — can overwhelm the trees.
That happened last year when the Castle Fire killed what studies estimate were 7,500 に 10,600 large sequoias, according to the National Park Service.
A historic drought and heat waves tied to climate change have made wildfires harder to fight in the American West. 科学者たちは、気候変動がこの地域を過去にはるかに暖かく、より乾燥させたと言います 30 何年もの間、天候をより極端にし、山火事をより頻繁かつ破壊的にし続けるでしょう.
A national interagency fire management team took command of efforts to fight the 11.5-square-mile (30-平方キロメートル) Paradise Fire and the 3-square-mile (8-平方キロメートル) 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 week, 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 平方マイル (15 平方キロメートル), 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 Peyrone 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 take days to complete,」声明は言った.
The fire led the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office to warn the communities of Ponderosa, Quaking Aspen, Johnsondale and Camp Whitsett, a Boy Scouts camp, to be ready to evacuate if necessary.
The wildfires are among the latest in a long summer of blazes that have scorched nearly 3,550 平方マイル (9,195 平方キロメートル) に カリフォルニア destroying hundreds of homes.
Crews had limited ground access to the Colony Fire and the extreme steepness of the terrain around the Paradise Fire prevented it completely, requiring extensive aerial water and flame-retardant drops on both fires. The two fires were being managed collectively as the KNP Complex.
Antczak reported from Los Angeles. Associated Press reporter Brian Melley contributed from Los Angeles.