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California fights fire to protect the giant sequoia

The flames approached General Sherman, the world’s largest tree, but were pushed back thanks to years of open burning that starved the fuel fire.

This month’s successful battle in California to save the world’s largest tree from the ever-deteriorating forest flames seems to provide an important lesson: you can fight fire with fire. I can do it.


Artificial climate change has made the western United States hotter, drier, and more vulnerable to increasingly devastating wildfires, causing horrific damage to forests in the region this year.

This involves threatening giant sequoias like General Sherman. Forest floor..

Firefighters were able to defeat the flames when they dig into the Giant Forest in California, thanks to decades of open burning that starved the flames of fuel.

“It sounds a bit strange to say this, but in reality there haven’t been enough fires in California for about a century,” said Rebecca Miller, a researcher at the University of Southern California.

“There was a false belief that fires were bad for the environment, and policies were in place at the federal and state levels throughout most of the 20th century.”

Fire is part of the natural cycle of Woods Clean up life, excess vegetation, clean up pests and create space for new growth.

In the wilderness, these fires will eventually burn out.

However, Human settlement Previously, they invaded more wild spaces, reduced their resistance to these fires, and firefighters were instructed to extinguish all flames as soon as possible.

Part of the Sequoia National Forest is burning in recent flames

Part of the Sequoia National Forest has been burned by recent flames.

There is now growing recognition that this policy is actually contributing to the exacerbation of forest fires. It fuels forest fires so much that it is hotter, faster and more destructive.

Instead, the idea goes on, we should actually help the little fire burn.

This practice was the key to protecting General Sherman’s hometown of the Giant Forest, said Mark Garrett, a spokesman for the unit’s efforts to put down a fire in the still-active KNP complex.

“The best tool we have”

The Giant Forest Sequoia, some 3000 years old, has withstood countless fires to date.

Their thick bark protects them from flames, and their cones actually require a small amount of fire heat to open and spread their seeds.

But even these impressive giants can’t cope with the huge flames that tear through the dry landscape of California.

Last year, about 10,000 of them (up to 14% of the world total) died in a big fire.

So there was a lot of tension when the flames from the KNP complex began to bite into the Sequoia National Forest.

Sequoia can survive low-level fires and even thrive by using heat to open cones and spread seeds,

Sequoia can survive and even thrive in low-level fires by using heat to open cones and spread seeds, but in hotter and faster fires that are hitting California. Can be killed.

Garrett says it was the first time an uncontrollable fire had come so close to General Sherman, wrapped in protective foil.

But thanks to years of open burning, the fire wasn’t very affordable, Garrett said.

“There’s something you’ve never seen before, such as a small tree in between killing nearly 300 feet of a tree carrying the fire,” he told AFP.

Open burning is “the best tool we have right now”.

Next General Sherman

But not everyone agrees.

“It’s not an effective strategy, it’s been very exaggerated,” says ecologist George Worthner.

Burning is so extensive and regular that it must be exorbitant.

“It is not possible to run the entire landscape at such a frequency. It is misleading to suggest that it is a panacea to prevent large-scale fires.”

California Redwood Trees Grow Higher-100 Meters-But Sequoia is the Largest Tree in the World

California Redwood Trees Grow Higher-100 Meters-But Sequoia is the largest tree in volume in the world.

Andy Stahl, a former Forest Office official, says that valuable open burning can cost billions of dollars.

“You can’t just burn it and go away and say,’I don’t have to do it again for another 100 years.'”

“No, we have to go back there in five or ten years and start over,” said Stahl, secretary-general of FSEEE, an organization focused on ethical forest management.

This explains why there are so few areas in the western United States where customs are common, except around the Giant Forest.

“It’s a very small footprint in a small national park.”

For Garrett, there is no choice. “I need more money. I need more people. This needs to be done across mountains and federal lands.

“I haven’t seen it in the Giant Forest yet, so there aren’t many brand new Sequoia trees. fire For a very long time.

“We need a new generation to replace General Sherman 2000 years later.”


U.S. firefighters optimistic about the world’s largest tree


© 2021 AFP

Quote: California protects the giant sequoia (September 26, 2021) acquired on September 26, 2021 from https: //phys.org/news/2021-09-california-giant-sequoias.html Fight fire for

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California fights fire to protect the giant sequoia

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