Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks will initiate emergency actions to protect giant sequoias from the threats posed by high-intensity wildfire by removing and reducing dense vegetation and other potential fire fuel sources in and around 11 giant sequoia groves that are especially at risk.
USDA Forest Service is initiating emergency fuels reduction treatments to provide for the long term survival of giant sequoia groves against immediate wildfire threats.
Summer wildfires, in the era of climate change, mean something different now for giant sequoias. These trees evolved with fire, and need it to reproduce, but the scale of recent megafires — burning in hotter, drier conditions across far greater areas — have overwhelmed many of the groves tucked high in the California mountains.
The U.S. Forest Service announced it’s taking emergency action to save giant sequoias by speeding up projects that could start within weeks to clear underbrush to protect the world’s largest trees from the increasing threat of wildfires.
The iconic grove of giant and ancient sequoia trees in California’s Yosemite National Park is no longer under direct threat from the wildfire still burning through a southern section of the park and the nearby Sierra National Forest.
At an estimated 2,700 years old (and possibly even older), this giant sequoia is one of the oldest trees in the world—a majestic specimen of a remarkable redwood species that has evolved to withstand the flames that periodically sweep through its environment.
They are the largest trees in the world, living monuments with massive trunks and towering canopies that can thrive for 3,000 years. But ancient sequoia trees, which have been decimated by severe wildfires around California’s Sierra Nevada, are struggling to keep up with ever-worsening conditions.
For millennia, one of the defining characteristics of giant sequoias has been their innate resilience to wildfire. But in the last several years, severe fires in the Sierra Nevada have revealed an unprecedented vulnerability in the groves. In just the last two years, wildfires have killed nearly 20% of the oldest, largest giant sequoias, shocking researchers and land managers.
The 2021 fire season included two large wildfires that burned into a large number of giant sequoia groves. This species has a limited distribution on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Given the impacts of the 2020 Castle Fire to sequoia groves, where losses were estimated at 10-14% of the entire Sierra Nevada population of sequoia trees, there is significant concern about the impacts of these new fires.
The wondrous giant sequoias have never needed you more than now. Please donate today to the KNP Complex Recovery Fund with via our partner, Sequoia Parks Conservancy. You can help prepare for the recovery efforts to come. At least ninety percent of every donation is restricted to the KNP Complex Fire Recovery Fund for Sequoia National Park.