World’s largest tree ‘General Sherman’ threatened by California wildfires–here’s why

By: |
September 20, 2021 5:36 PM

A report by the Associated Press reveals that although the sequoia trees are fire-resistant, the intensity of wildfire can be too much for the trees, leaving the trees ablaze.

general shermanThe General Sherman is the world’s largest tree when it comes down to volume and existence in the Giant Forest sequoia grove of the national park (Photo: Getty image)

The Colony fire and paradise–two wildfires in California are burning through the Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada. The place is home to some of the largest trees known in the world. General Sherman, the world’s largest tree, is also under threat and firefighters are trying hard to save the tree from the blaze. A report by the Associated Press reveals that although the sequoia trees are fire-resistant, the intensity of wildfire can be too much for the trees, leaving the trees ablaze.

What makes General Sherman the world’s largest tree?

The General Sherman is the world’s largest tree when it comes down to volume and existence in the Giant Forest sequoia grove of the national park. The recent estimates say that the General Sherman is about 2,200 years old and at 275 feet tall (taller than the leaning tower of Pisa). It has a diameter of 36 feet at the base and diameter of 17.5 feet from 60 feet above the base.

Sequoia National Park: Wildfires

It is said that low to moderate severity wildfires in the Sequoia National Park burn every 6-35 years approximately, noted NPS (National Park Service). Occasional fires in the area have made gaps in the forest canopy making space for seedlings to grow. The park staff estimated that less than 10 per cent of the large sequoias have been ruined due to low severity. And about 34 per cent died due to severe fire.

The Castle fire that started in August (2020) in the remote part of the national forest burnt some 171,000 acres followed by more than 9,530 acres of giant sequoia groves on US Forest Service, State of California, National Park Service Tulare County and private lands. Overall, this burned the entire area that represents a third of all sequoia grove area across the Sierra Nevada. This area is the only place in the world where giant sequoias grow naturally, noted NPS. The Giant sequoia trees have been placed in the national park for thousands of years and on estimation basis, there are at least 2,000 such trees in the park. Firefighters are now wrapping the area covered by world’s largest trees followed by others with the help of fire-resistant aluminum blankets onto the bases of the trees in order to save the trees.

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