It’s a race against time and flames in California’s Sequoia National Park as firefighters rush to save its iconic giant sequoia trees from not one, but two wildfires tearing through the region. These centuries-old trees have survived by adapting to California’s seasonal wildfires, but firefighters worry that this time the heat and intensity of current blazes could inflict serious damage. In recent months, California has been rocked by a series of devastating wildfires that scientists say is the result of climate change driven by the world’s continued reliance on fossil fuels.
California firefighters are rushing to protect the state's famed giant sequoia trees from intense flames. Twin wildfoires have raged in the Sierra Nevada region for nearly 2 weeks...scorching 60,000 acres of forests, Firefighters sought to prevent serious damage to the trees through early intervention.
Thanh Nguyen: "What our firefighters and our regional advisors are doing is that they're assessing where it's actually appropriate to do that. Not all trees would benefit from that wrapping. And so you know I've seen several today on the other side of the fire, and so it just depends on what's determined."
Mike McMillan: "Most of those trees were unaffected by the fire. Some of them did get fire at the bottoms of them and we we've mopped those up pretty well. So a lot of that area was pre-treated by crews. That means they went in there and limbed up trees, and cut down dead trees and made it safe for the public. And that work really helped when this fire came through to protect those giant sequoias."
Giant sequoias and their relative, the California redwoods, have adapted to "California's wildfires. But longer hotter and more aggressive tires like the ones ravaging Calif0rnia threaten their survival.
Mike McMillan: "As giant as these trees are the anomaly is that their seeds are absolutely tiny about the size of a pinhead, but flat and they will produce millions of these seeds. But they need fire to do that. So they'll shower seeds down when a fire comes through. The chance of any one of those seeds becoming a giant sequoia is very low. But millions of seeds are released when a fire like this comes through."
California has been struggling with and increasing number of wildfires in recent years
Mike McMillan: "This ain't their first rodeo, these trees have been through many fires, and you can see that on the scars that they have. So I'm confident that most of those trees will be largely unaffected by the fire."
Earlier this year, the Dixie Fire ravaged more than 489,000 acres. It is believed to be the second -largest wildfire in California's history. Scientists say climate change and the use of fossils are behind increasingly common wild fires.
1. What tree is in danger in California?
2. Recount the tree’s seed size?
3. What are behind are behind increasingly common wild fires?