Wildfires in California Killed Nearly 20% of Earth’s Giant Sequoias

By: | November 30th, 2021

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Wildfires in California over the past five years have killed thousands of mature giant sequoias…claiming almost 20% of the world’s largest Sequoias. 

Giant sequoias are historic trees. Most of these take a hundred and some take thousands of years to grow to maturity. Their lifespan is more than 3,000 years. Wildfires in the Sequoia National Park and nearby forests have claimed a third of California’s groves.

 “The sobering reality is that we have seen another huge loss within a finite population of these iconic trees that are irreplaceable in many lifetimes,” said Clay Jordan, superintendent of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “As spectacular as these trees are we really can’t take them for granted. To ensure that they’re around for our kids and grandkids and great-grandkids, some action is necessary.”

Once these trees were considered to be nearly fire-proof!

But now National Park Service officials fear that there could be a risk of regeneration failure in parts of Sequoia National Park. This is because of the fact that climate change has created a perfect environment for fires. 

High temperatures increase the intensity of fires and because of droughts there lays dry logs beneath the canopy of trees. Jordan told the New York Times, “That becomes a recipe for a catastrophic fire that threatens our sequoia groves, the health of our forests and, at the same time, threatens our communities,” 

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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