Despite the efforts of nearly 1,700 firefighters to put out several fires in central California (Los Angeles), the iconic trees of Sequoia National Park were still in danger of catching fire Monday.
The national park is home to about 2,000 giant sequoias, which grow only in this part of the world and are considered to be the largest trees in existence today.
According to firefighters, the forest fire, known as “Windy Fire”, started with lightning on September 9 and has already spread over an area of 10,000 hectares, penetrating into two large gardens.
“We don’t know if they were destroyed, but the fire completely engulfed the two gardens,” fire spokeswoman Amanda Munsey told the Los Angeles Times Daily.
In a nearby wood, at least one large sequoia was able to reach the peaks despite rescue efforts to stop the fires, she explained.
Further north, the so-called “KNP” fire is endangered for Sequoia Park’s “Giant Forest”, which shelters five of the world’s tallest trees, but remained on its edge Monday.
Firefighters have recently begun brush clearing and other improvements, some of which are 2,000 to 3,000 years old. They also laid a fireproof protective blanket over the most famous base of what was known as “General Sherman”. At 83 meters high and 11 meters in diameter at its base, it is considered by experts to be the largest tree in the world.
Low-intensity fires are usually not enough to cause damage to major disasters, these disasters have the first branches growing up to thirty meters away from their thick bark and flames.
In contrast, these sequoias require fires to reproduce: the heat of the fire explodes cones that have fallen to the ground like popcorn to release hundreds of seeds.
These giants, who grow only in California, do not adapt to the more severe fires that have occurred in recent years due to climate change.
Thousands of square kilometers of forest have already been burned in California this year. As the number and severity of fires have increased in recent years across the western United States, the duration of fires has increased significantly.