Fire-fighters battle to protect treasured California Sequoias

A firefighter with Cal Fire chats with crew members of California Department of Corrections at a wildfire, on Thursday Sept. 10, 2015, near Jackson, California.  

Firefighters in California on Thursday say the state’s largest wildfire threatens to sweep through an ancient grove of Giant Sequoia trees considered to be a national treasure.

Firefighters are clearing lines with bulldozers around the Grant Grove and putting up sprinklers, said Andy Isolano, a fire department spokesman.

Although Isolano said the trees can endure fire, some are stressed in the four-year drought and they’re not taking any chances because the fast-moving flames are about 5 miles from the grove.

It is named for the towering General Grant tree that stands 268 feet (82 meters) tall. There are dozens of Sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada, and some trees are 3,000 years old.

Lightning strikes on July 31 sparked the wildfire in the Kings Canyon National Park east of Fresno. It has charred 172 square miles (445 sq. kilometers) and is less than one-third contained.

Meanwhile, lions, tigers and other cats big and small are being evacuated as California’s biggest wildfire continues to spread, possibly threatening the park where they live, officials said on Thursday.

Cat Haven in Fresno County, where the fire has been burning for nearly six weeks, is closing temporarily. Officials are also advising more residents to be ready to evacuate as the stubborn blaze spreads.

Nearly three dozen wild cats will soon be moved from the 100-acre (40-hectare) site just west of King’s Canyon National Park.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 1:37:03 PM |

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