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News for August 14, 2022

Yosemite Wildfire Threatens Ancient Giant Sequoia Trees

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Firefighters are battling a growing wildfire threatening a grove of ancient giant sequoia trees at Yosemite National Park (California).

As per a report, the fire doubled in only a day, growing from 800 acres on Saturday to 1,600 acres by Sunday. CBS reported that the Washburn Fire has grown to cover over 22,000 acres as of early Monday morning, and the fire is still uncontained.

On difficult terrain, around 400 firefighters are on the job to safeguard the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the largest grove of iconic trees in Yosemite, as well as a nearby mountain town, campground, and hotel.

The Mariposa Grove along the Washburn Trail is home to hundreds of giant sequoias that can grow over 75 meters in height and last for thousands of years. It is believed that the Mariposa Grove was the first nationally protected scenic natural area within the U.S., with then-president Abraham Lincoln legislating it for “public use, resort, and recreation” in 1864.

Washburn Fire began on July 7, per the reports of people who visited the park, and is fuelled by the brush and timber within the area close to the lower portion of the grove.

To guard the famous trees, firefighters have put sprinklers within the grove to keep the trunks of the giant sequoias wet. Officials hope the constant spray of water will help stop the fire from spreading.

Park officials have previously conducted prescribed burns to clear out flammable materials to prevent wildfires. However, this region of the park is prone to keeping fires burning. Many trees died in a three-year period beginning in 2013, creating lots of dry timber that is easy to ignite.

As of early Monday, no fatalities or injuries were confirmed as a result of the fire.

More than 1,600 people visiting Yosemite National Park have been forced to evacuate the park at the height of the summer tourist season from the nearby community, campground, and historic hotel. The southern entrance to the park is now closed. However, visitors are able to travel to Yosemite Valley through the western entrance.

The specific cause of the Washburn Fire has not been determined; experts are warning that climate change is causing an increase in the number and more severe droughts that could threaten the sequoias with more frequent wildfires.

Only 75,000 sequoias still stand in California, but up to a fifth of the remaining population has been burned in wildfires in the last two years.

Between 2015 and 2021, 85% of all giant sequoia groves were destroyed by wildfires, according to National Park Service officials. In the preceding 100 years, only 25% of giant sequoias were consumed by fire.

For more information, visit https://www.nps.gov/yose/index.htm.

This story originally appeared on Global News

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Hi, you might find this article from Modern Campground interesting: Yosemite Wildfire Threatens Ancient Giant Sequoia Trees! This is the link: https://moderncampground.com/usa/california/yosemite-wildfire-threatens-ancient-giant-sequoia-trees/