Four famous giant sequoia trees were not damaged by a wildfire that reached the edge of the Giant Forest in California’s Sequoia National Park, authorities said.
The Four Guards, a group of trees that form a natural entrance on the path to the forest, were successfully protected from the KNP Complex fire by removing nearby vegetation and wrapping fire-resistant material around the tree bases, fire fighting. the management team said in a statement Sunday.
The KNP complex began as two lightning-triggered fires that eventually merged and burned more than 37 square miles (96 square kilometers) in the heart of Redwood Country on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.
However, there was no immediate information on the full extent of damage to several other redwood forests hit by a separate fire, the Windy Fire, in the Giant Sequoia National Monument area of the Sequoia National Forest and the Tule River Indian Reserve.
The Windy Fire has washed away the groves of Peyrone and Red Hill, as well as a portion of Long Meadow Grove along the Trail of 100 Giants.
A portion of a giant sequoia along the road was confirmed to have burned, said Thanh Nguyen, a spokesman for the fire command.
Fire crews with hoses and water-dropping helicopters were working to limit damage to the giant sequoias in the groves, where there are other types of trees as well.
Redwoods have adapted to fire and can benefit from low-intensity flames.
The Windy Fire has burned more than 39 square miles (101 square kilometers) and was only 4% contained.
The KNP complex forced an evacuation from Sequoia National Park last week, and much of the adjacent Kings Canyon National Park was closed on Sunday. Visitors to areas that were still open were warned about dangerous air quality due to smoke.
A large area of Northern California was under a red flag warning for extreme fire danger Monday due to dry winds offshore that can increase fire danger.
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The warning did not extend to Southern California, but forecasters said there would be weak Santa Ana winds and significant warming, raising the risk of wildfires.
The historic drought linked to climate change is making it difficult to fight forest fires. It has killed millions of trees in California alone. Scientists say climate change has made the West much hotter and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.
More than 7,000 wildfires in California this year have damaged or destroyed more than 3,000 homes and other buildings and burned more than 3,000 square miles (7,770 square kilometers) of land, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.