Saturday, December 10, 2022

American firefighters are optimistic about protecting the world’s largest tree

American firefighters are optimistic about protecting the world's largest tree

Firefighters fighting to protect the world’s largest tree from the wildfires ravaging the United States said Friday that they are optimistic that it can be saved.

As man-made climate change exacerbates California’s terrible fire season, flames are gradually approaching the majestic General Sherman and other giant sequoias.

“We have hundreds of firefighters there going all out to give extra care,” Mark Garrett, the communications officer of the fire department in the area, told AFP, referring to the operation in Sequoia National Park.

Staff are fighting the spreading paradise and colony fires, which have so far consumed 4,600 hectares (11,400 acres) of forest since the lightning triggered the fire a week ago.

The fire is threatening the giant forest, a forest of approximately 2,000 redwoods, including the five largest trees on the planet, some of which are 3,000 years old.

The largest of these is General Sherman, who is 83 meters (275 feet) tall.

On Thursday, General Sherman was wrapped in an aluminum fire blanket to protect his huge suitcase from the worst flames.

By Friday, the managers felt they had the upper hand, in part because of clearing the bushes and controlling the burns from fuel burning.

“I think the most challenging part is the terrain here,” Garrett said. But “we haven’t seen explosive fire behavior; it really slows down and gives us a chance to stay one step ahead.”

‘Really ready’

Approximately 600 personnel participated in the battle.

“We have someone in the giant forest protecting the building and preparing everything,” he said. “In fact, they have been burned by prescriptions for the past 25 or 30 years, so it’s really prepared.”

During this year’s fierce fire season, millions of acres of California’s forest were burned down.

Scientists say global warming caused by the uncontrolled use of fossil fuels is making the region more vulnerable to larger and more destructive wildfires.

The huge trees in the giant forest are a huge tourist attraction, and tourists from all over the world will marvel at their majestic height and extraordinary circumference.

Although not the tallest tree — California sequoias can grow to more than 300 feet — giant sequoias are the largest.

Smaller fires usually do not harm redwoods, which are protected by thick bark and usually have branches 100 feet above the ground.

But the larger, hotter fires that are causing waste in the western United States are dangerous for them because they will climb higher trunks and enter the canopy.


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