California wildfires lap at feet of world’s largest trees

'General Sherman' of Sequoia National Park is threatened

By

National News

September 17, 2021 - 4:41 PM

Flames burn through brush on a hillside near an entrance station to Sequoia National Park on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. (Brian van der Brug/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Deep inside the heart of Sequoia National Park lies a cathedral-like grove that is home to thousands of towering sequoia trees. Known as the Giant Forest, it draws throngs of visitors each year who come to marvel at its behemoths, including the 275-foot General Sherman tree, known as the largest tree on Earth.

Wildfire is a natural part of the life cycle of sequoias — helping to release their seeds. But with climate change fueling a new breed of extreme fire in California, that ecological contract has been betrayed. Flames from a wildfire are lapping at the Giant Forest and threatening to decimate some of the greatest natural wonders of the world.

The 8,940-acre KNP Complex, composed of the Paradise and Colony fires, was roughly a mile from the ancient grove Wednesday, officials said.

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