BSS-ENhrch_cat_news-33-5
BSS
  18 Sep 2021, 10:51

US firefighters optimistic over world's biggest tree

   RED FIR, United States, Sept 18, 2021 (BSS/AFP) - Firefighters battling to

protect the world's biggest tree from wildfires ravaging the parched United
States said Friday they are optimistic it can be saved.

  Flames are creeping closer to the majestic General Sherman and other giant
sequoias, as man-made climate change worsens California's fearsome fire
season.

  "We have hundreds of firefighters there giving it their all, giving extra
care," Mark Garrett, communications officer for the region's fire department,
told AFP, of the operation in Sequoia National Park.

  Crews are battling the spreading Paradise and Colony fires, which have so
far consumed 4,600 hectares (11,400 acres) of forest since they were sparked
by lightning a week ago.

  The blazes are threatening Giant Forest, a grove of around 2,000 sequoias
that includes five of the largest trees on the planet -- some up to 3,000
years old.

  The biggest of them all, the General Sherman stands 83 meters (275 feet)
tall.

  On Thursday, General Sherman was wrapped in fire-proof blankets -- aluminum
foil intended to protect its giant trunk from the worst of the flames.

  By Friday, managers felt they had the upper hand, thanks in part to
clearing of undergrowth and controlled burns that starve the fire of fuel.

  "I think the most challenging part is the terrain here," said Garrett.

  But "we haven't seen explosive fire behavior; it really slowed down and
gave us a chance to get ahead of it." Around 600 personnel are involved in
the fight.

  "We have folks up in the Giant Forest protecting structures and preparing
everything.

  "The fact is that they've been prescribed burning for the past 25 or 30
years so it is really prepared."

  Millions of acres of California's forests have burned in this year's
ferocious fire season.

  Scientists say global warming, stoked by the unchecked use of fossil fuels
is making the area ever-more vulnerable to bigger and more destructive
wildfires.

  The enormous trees of the Giant Forest are a huge tourist draw, with
visitors traveling from all over the world to marvel at their imposing height
and extraordinary girth.

  While not the tallest trees -- California redwoods can grow to more than
300 feet -- the giant sequoias are the largest by volume. Smaller fires
generally do not harm the sequoias, which are protected by a thick bark and
often only have branches 100 feet above the ground.

  But the larger, hotter blazes that are laying waste to the western United
States are dangerous to them because they climb higher up the trunks and into
the canopy.

 

  • Latest News
  • Most View
Beta Version