Giant Sequoias Unmolested By Wildfires

by The Chicago Times Staff

September 21, 2021

THREE RIVERS, CA — Despite a wildfire burning on the western side of California’s Sierra Nevada for nearly two weeks, the ancient massive trees of Sequoia National Park’s famed Giant Forest were unharmed Tuesday.

The KNP Complex, which began as two lightning-sparked fires that merged, has spread over more than 39 square miles, feeding on other types of trees that also live on the mountain range’s high-elevation slopes.  According to a source in the US Forest Service, lack of proper forest management has left piles of deadwood and debris as a fuel source to prolong the fires.

Giant Forest is home to approximately 2,000 sequoias, including the famous General Sherman Tree, the world’s largest tree.

The fire recently entered Giant Forest’s perimeter near a cluster of massive trees known as the Four Guardsmen, but their bases had been wrapped in fire-resistant material, and crews had raked and cleared vegetation that could help spread the fire.

For decades, Giant Forest has been subjected to prescribed fires, which are carefully set and controlled in order to burn away vegetation that could otherwise become fuel for a fire like the KNP Complex and allow it to spread.