Some 3,600 large giant sequoias died in the flames of two wildfires that erupted in a thunderstorm in mid-September and engulfed 27 groves of monsters in the southern Sierra Nevada, officials said during a media briefing Friday during a media briefing.
More than two dozen groves of towering trees were burned out when the KNP complex and Windfire exploded through parched vegetation, at times exacerbated by high winds and thunderstorms.
The dark news was delivered to Grant Grove in Kings Canyon National Park, in the shadow of the General Grant Tree, considered the second largest tree on Earth. Last month, the massive tree, which rises more than 260 feet, was still wrapped in a fire-resistant aluminum blanket to protect it from the still-active KNP Complex fire, which burned over 88,300 acres in rugged terrain in Sequoia and Kings Canyon. National parks.
Although no longer a threat, the KNP – still 75% contained – continues to chew on pockets of heavy fuel.
Meanwhile, the brigades have completely contained the Windy fire in the south, which burned more than 97,500 acres on the Tula River Indian Reservation and Sequoia National Forest.
The fire burned out at least 27 groves of giant trees, natural wonders that can live for over 3,000 years and rise to over 250 feet.
Officials braced for destruction, although the trees survived – and thrived – amid wildfires for thousands of years.
With tall canopies and thick bark, giant sequoias are adapted to withstand low-intensity fires and even need them to breed. But the ferocious fires of recent years, triggered by climate change, have proved fatal to trees that were once thought immune to fire.
Officials said Friday that between 2,261 and 3,637 redwoods with a base of 4 feet or more in diameter were either killed or so badly damaged that they would die in the next three to five years.