California wildfires threaten world’s largest tree

One of California’s most famous groves of giant sequoias is threatened by a small but intense wildfire burning in Sequoia National Park, officials said on Wednesday.

The roughly 7,000-acre KNP fire complex is burning about a mile away from the Giant Forest, home to the largest tree on earth by volume, dubbed General Sherman, said Rebecca Paterson, a public information officer for the National Park Service in Three Rivers, near where the fire is burning.

About 115 employees have been evacuated from the park, along with residents of the eastern part of the town, Ms Paterson said. The park was closed on Tuesday as the fire began to threaten the Giant Forest, one of about 30 such groves and most visited, she said.

The fires making up the complex grew significantly on Tuesday with zero containment, the federal Inciweb fire information system said Wednesday. The complex, made of two blazes that are burning near each other, was started by lightning strikes on September 10th. It is burning in steep canyons, fuelled by dry timber and chaparral.

Firefighters have wrapped the historic General Sherman Tree, estimated to be around 2,300 to 2,700 years old, with fire-proof blankets in Sequoia National Park, California. Photograph: National Park Service/AFP/Getty Images

Firefighters have wrapped the historic General Sherman Tree, estimated to be around 2,300 to 2,700 years old, with fire-proof blankets in Sequoia National Park, California. Photograph: National Park Service/AFP/Getty Images

Dry conditions and winds of up to 25 miles per hour may help the fire expand in coming days, the Inciweb system said.

Air quality in the area is poor, and parts of Three Rivers where people have not been ordered to leave have been warned to be ready to evacuate, Ms Paterson said.

The park service has been conducting prescribed burns in the area, which officials hope will ameliorate the impact on the giant sequoias if the complex does reach them, she said.

Sequoias depend on fire as part of their life cycle, but some massive, intense fires fuelled by climate change may do more damage than in the past.

“Even if fire does reach the Giant Forest that does not mean it will be devastating once it gets there,” Ms Paterson said.

Three Rivers is near the Ash Mountain Main Entrance to Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Park, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, according to the town’s website. It is home to about 2,400 people according to the US Census. –Reuters

The Irish Times

The Irish Times online. Latest news including sport, analysis, business, weather and more from the definitive brand of quality news in Ireland.

https://www.irishtimes.com/

Can the UK reach net zero by 2050 with its green plan?.

Can the UK reach net zero by 2050 with its green plan?.

The government's long-awaited strategy to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 has been released. But can the UK reach this target with the government's green plan? Carbon footprinting expert Mike Berners-Lee says the government's Net Zero Str...

ABC NEWS LIVE: Former President Trump sues Jan. 6 investigative committee

ABC NEWS LIVE: Former President Trump sues Jan. 6 investigative committee

Plus, families and survivors from the 2018 Parkland shooting reach a $25 million-dollar settlement, and gang demands $17M ransom for 17 missionaries abducted in Haiti. #abcnl #trump #january6 #haiti #kidnappedmissionaries #parklandshooting #settle...

Northeast Syria Hit Hard by COVID Pandemic

Northeast Syria Hit Hard by COVID Pandemic

Vaccines in the isolated region are mostly not available and hospitals are short of oxygen Originally published at -

All passengers survive plane crash in Texas

All passengers survive plane crash in Texas

All 21 passengers on board a plane headed for Boston survived after it crashed at takeoff in Waller County, Texas. CNN's Rosa Flores reports. #CNN #News

COP26: Will the government's net zero strategy work?.

COP26: Will the government's net zero strategy work?.

As the government unveils its new climate strategy, there are questions over how it will be funded and whether it goes far enough. Boosting nuclear power, bringing to an end the sale of petrol and diesel cars and switching away from home-heating p...

What is in the government's net zero strategy?

What is in the government's net zero strategy?

Sky's Hannah Thomas-Peter looks in more detail at what's in the plan and how China - a key player in the global efforts against climate change - views the UK's claims to be a world leader in reaching net zero. SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel for ...