Wildfires threaten California's treasured Sequoias

September 15, 2015
A firefighter douses flames from a backfire while battling the Butte fire near San Andreas, California, September 12, 2015
A firefighter douses flames from a backfire while battling the Butte fire near San Andreas, California, September 12, 2015

Wildfires sweeping through California are threatening an ancient grove of giant Sequoia trees considered a national treasure, officials said Tuesday.

The so-called Rough Fire, the largest of more than a dozen burning across northern and central California, has edged closer to the famous in recent days with scrambling to protect them.

"The fire has moved into a number of Sequoia groves in King's Canyon National Park and Sequoia National Forest and we are taking to make sure nothing happens to them," park spokesman Mike Theune told AFP.

Of particular concern is the General Grant tree, the second largest Sequoia in the world that stands 268 feet (81.6 meters) tall.

Theune said firefighters are monitoring the tree round-the-clock, spraying water and clearing the area around Grant grove.

"We have some of the best firefighters in the world working on this fire in order to protect these national treasures," he said.

Theune said crews had also installed a sprinkler system around the Boole Tree, the sixth-largest tree in the world.

Although Sequoias, which are a major attraction for tourists worldwide, need low-intensity fires to reproduce, extreme heat like that produced by the Rough Fire is too much for the giants to handle.

The Rough Fire has burned 139,000 acres near Sequoia and King's Canyon National Parks. More than 3,700 firefighters are battling the blaze which is 40 percent contained, according to the US Forest Service.

Explore further: Fires ravaging Washington, Oregon, and California

Related Stories

NASA image: Rough fire in Southern California

September 1, 2015

Wildfires in the western states have been continuous this summer season. This natural-color satellite image, collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) aboard the Aqua satellite on August 30, ...

NASA image: King Fire rages on in Eldorado National Forest

September 22, 2014

Evacuations of 2,819 people have occurred in the wake of the huge King Fire blazing out of control near the Eldorado National Forest. The King Fire is burning in steep terrain in the South Fork of the American River Canyon, ...

NASA image: Pacific Northwest wildfires severe in intensity

August 26, 2015

The Pacific Northwest is abundantly dotted with wildfires in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. There are over 27 fires listed in the Inciweb database for the state of Washington. The largest active fire listed is the ...

Recommended for you

The long dry: global water supplies are shrinking

December 13, 2018

A global study has found a paradox: our water supplies are shrinking at the same time as climate change is generating more intense rain. And the culprit is the drying of soils, say researchers, pointing to a world where drought-like ...

New climate model to be built from the ground up

December 13, 2018

Facing the certainty of a changing climate coupled with the uncertainty that remains in predictions of how it will change, scientists and engineers from across the country are teaming up to build a new type of climate model ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.