Lonely giant sequoia in California still smoking, months after the 2020 castle fire – fr

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Lonely giant sequoia in California still smoking, months after the 2020 castle fire – fr


The tree was found smoking nine months after a lightning strike sparked a forest fire that burned 699 square kilometers of forest.

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A giant sequoia in a Sequoia National Forest in California is still smoldering, several months after wildfires ravaged the area last summer.

Researchers who studied the impact of the fires in the lower forest region this week spotted a plume of smoke rising from a ravine and discovered a charred, but still standing, redwood tree burned by the castle fire. which swept through the region last August.

“The fact that the areas are still smoldering and still smoking from the 2020 castle fire shows how dry the park is,” said Leif Mathiesen, deputy fire management manager for Sequoia National Parks and Kings Canyon in central California. “With the low amount of snow and rain this year, there could be additional finds as spring turns into summer.”

A lightning strike in the forest triggered the fire in the castle in August. For months, it swept 699 square kilometers of forest and burned parts of 20 redwood groves, before fire crews were able to contain the blaze in late December.

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It took five months to fully contain the blaze, and by that time hundreds of redwood trees had been killed – including monarchs such as General Sherman, the tallest tree in the world at over 2,000 years, reported the Los Angeles Times.

Sequoia National Park is the only place on the planet where trees grow naturally and live for thousands of years.

Mike Theune, the fire information officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, told The Guardian embers can remain inside a tree months after a fire has burned down. But the fact that the embers persist during a winter of rain and snow could be due to California’s lack of snow in recent winters and its current extreme drought.

“The vegetation – the fuels – are dry,” Theune said. “They don’t have the high moisture content that [could prevent fire]. »

Normally, redwoods can handle wildfires – they even thrive there, experts said. Old sequoias can survive if only a scant five percent of their tops are green and can escape burns in a fire.

However, forest fires in recent years have become more severe and last much longer, due to rising temperatures and drier conditions, resulting in patches of dead and blackened trees.

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“But at the same time, we are seeing the effects of climate change, high fire severity and extended long-term droughts,” Theune told The Guardian.

Which could mean California is set to repeat itself last year, when its wildfires burned a record 16,996 square kilometers of land and forest.

AccuWeather, according to ABC News, predicted the American West could experience an above-average wildfire season this year in a forecast released Wednesday, with fires expected to burn 38,445 square kilometers of land.

“Sadly, in a nutshell, it looks like it’s going to be another busy season,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dave Samuhel said in a statement. “We are seeing a lot of drought. Almost half of the country is in the grip of drought, and most of it is in the west. “

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