Firefighters are wrapping fire-resistant blankets around ancient trees — including the 275 ft General Sherman, the biggest tree by volume on Earth — and historic signs as blazes tear through California's world-famous Sequoia National Park.
— American Forests (@AmericanForests) September 17, 2021
The monumental General Sherman is the world’s largest tree (by volume) and is located in California’s Sequoia National Park. At 275 feet high and over 36 feet in diameter, the tree is taller than the Statue of Liberty and truly a sight to behold—but it’s also in danger. As wildfires rage in the state, General Sherman has been wrapped in aluminum-based burn-resistant materials in order to protect it from the nearby flames.
The legendary tree is threatened by the KNP Complex Fire, which comprises two blazes: the Paradise Fire and the Colony Fire. The KNP Complex Fire has destroyed over 23,000 acres so far and caused Sequoia National Park to temporarily shut down as it has now reached a “small area” of the Giant Forest—Sherman’s home along with over 2,000 other sequoias. Prior to the breach, crews removed fuel, rolled away heavy logs, and wrapped the special trees to help mitigate potential damage.
There is a great concern for not only the sequoia trees but the entire area; it's no secret how devastating these fires can be. “Our primary focus is on protection of the communities and always will be,” Clayton Jordan, superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, explained. “And that's where most of the firefighting efforts are focused. But we do have a special team of resource managers led by park staff that is focused on the protection of the sequoias while the firefighters deal with the main threat of the fire.”
The threat to sequoias is a real one. In 2020, somewhere between 7,500 and 10,600 mature giant sequoias perished during the Castle Fire. Sadly, that is about 10–14% of the world’s population of these trees.
At the time of writing, the KNP Complex Fire is 0% contained. Real-time updates about the status of the fire, along with other fires in the U.S., can be found on InciWeb.
h/t: [IFL Science]