California wildfire threat to Yosemite giant sequoias ‘almost gone’

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More than 1,000 firefighters have scrambled to contain the Washburn fire, which threatened the world-renowned Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias

The wildfire threat to the world’s largest trees in California has almost passed, with the blaze now spreading away from giant sequoia trees in Yosemite National Park, a forestry official said Thursday.

More than 1,000 firefighters have scrambled to contain the Washburn fire, which started a week ago, and which for days threatened the world-renowned Mariposa Grove of giant sequoias.

“Currently none [of the giant sequoias] have been killed. You never know, down the road. In two years, if maybe some of the younger ones, their needles start to turn yellow… it might be because of the fire,” he added.

The Mariposa Grove is the largest group of sequoias in Yosemite, with over 500 mature trees.

Crews worked to remove quick-burning leaves, sticks and branches. Sprinklers supplied with water tanks have been running 24 hours a day, increasing overall humidity in the area.

It is currently moving north and east, into the neighboring Sierra National Forest.

“It’s not being driven by the wind. It’s just being driven by the fuels,” said Bercovitz.

“But it is currently greatly reduced, and burning away [from the giant sequoias].”

But longer, hotter and more aggressive fires can damage them, sometimes irreparably, and California has recently seen multiple severe fire seasons in a row.

Scientists say global warming, which is being driven chiefly by humanity’s unchecked burning of fossil fuels, is making extreme weather events more likely.



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