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Growing California wildfire spares group of giant sequoias By Reuters


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: The firefighting helicopter dropped water on the hotspots that were burning during the KNP Complex Fire, in Sequoia National Park (Tulare County), California, U.S. September 18, 2020. REUTERS/Fred Greaves

(Reuters) – A group of landmark giant sequoias has so far been spared by a blaze sweeping through a California national park, authorities said on Sunday.

KNP Complex, an earlier month lightning strike, erupted at the western end of Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest. This forest is home to the Four Guardsmen, an ancient group of sequoia trees.

But protection measures including wrapping the bases of the huge trees in fire-resistant coverings kept safe “these national treasures,” Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks officials wrote early on Sunday in a Facebook (NASDAQ:) post

The Giant Forest is a forest of approximately 2,000 sequoia trees.

The General Sherman, the world’s largest tree that towers over the others at 275 feet (83 m) and is more than 36 feet (11 m) in diameter at its base, had not been impacted by the fire as of Friday, park officials said on Saturday The guardsmen are approximately 2.5 miles (4km) from the General Sherman.

The park service also took other steps to safeguard the sequoias. They have prescribed burns which decrease the fuel available in case the fire gets there.

The life cycle of the Sequoias depends on fire, however, climate change could cause more harm than usual.

The KNP Complex, now considered a single fire after two blazes merged, has grown in size in recent days, burning some 21,777 acres (8813 hectares) as of early Sunday, according to the federal Inciweb fire information system. It was still at 0% containment.

According to the park service, smoke cleared Saturday afternoon, which allowed air operations to resume their efforts to combat the fires in steep terrain that was inaccessible for firefighters.

One of several blazes that broke out across the west in an earlier fire season, caused Sequoia National Park’s closure.

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