Firefighters try to protect the world’s largest tree by wrapping it in a fire-resistant blanket during a wildfire in California’s Sierra Nevada region on Friday.
Found in Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest, General Sherman is the largest among approximately 2,000 enormous old-growth sequoias, with a volume of 52,508 cubic feet (1,487 cubic meters).
Firemen also wrapped the Giant Forest Museum and other buildings including some other sequoias to protect them from the fire, said Rebecca Paterson, the spokesperson.
According to the fire officials, one of the two burning areas in Sequoia National Park, the Colony Fire, is forecasted to reach the Giant Forest in just days.
However, on Thursday, the fire did not exponentially grow after the reduction of the spread due to a layer of smoke in the morning as stated by Katy Hooper.
How Are The Sequoias Protected From The Fire?
Aluminum wrapping is being used as shared by the fire officials because it can repel extreme heat for a short time.
This material has been utilized for many years to shield structures from the fire in the West US, according to the federal officials.
The efforts to combat the Colony Fire and Paradise Fire are being led by a national interagency fire management team. They have performed certain steps to eradicate the vegetation and other surrounding flammable materials that may fuel the fire near the giant trees.
“Hopefully, the Giant Forest will emerge from this unscathed,” Paterson said.
Climate change and giant sequoias
Naturally, the giant sequoias are adapted to fire. The wildfires create an intense heat that gives way for the seeds to be released from their cones which will foster the growth of young sequoias.
However, the extreme magnitude of the recent wildfires can cause the trees to be overwhelmed.
Last year, the Castle Fire caused the death of approximately 7,500 to 10,600 large sequoias. According to the National Park Service, some of those were as old as a thousand years and more.
Wildfires in the American West have become harder to manage due to historic drought and heat waves linked to climate change.
According to the scientists, in the last 30 years, the region has become drier and warmer because of climate change. Because of this, the weather and wildfires will be expected to be more intense and frequent.