Thousands of Sequoias Must Be Chopped Down

Trees pose danger after California wildfires
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 24, 2021 8:45 AM CDT
10K Sequoia Trees Face The Axe After Wildfires
A large, unscathed giant sequoia looms over the Redwood Canyon loop trailhead's dirt parking lot   (Eric Paul Zamora/The Fresno Bee via AP)

(Newser) – Thousands of California's famed giant sequoias are doomed in the wake of devastating wildfires that have swept the Sierra Nevada. Per ABC News, upwards of 10,000 of the trees, which can reach 275 feet and live for 3,000 years or more, must be culled for safety reasons. The trees line Generals Highway--which cuts through Sequoia National Park, Giant Sequoia National Monument, and Kings Canyon National Park--and have been weakened not only by the fires but by drought and disease. Per an NPS press release, the "hazard trees" have a high probability to fail and the potential to strike people, cars, other structures, or create barriers to emergency response services.

In worse news for the rare giants, the release goes on to say that count does not include hazard trees in the backcountry, where mitigation planning is ongoing. As The Hill notes, the Kings Canyon National Parks Complex fire, which started Sept. 10, has left the highway closed for weeks. The NPS estimates the fire is 60 percent contained, having now burned 138 square miles. Earlier this month, officials revealed that "hundreds" of sequoias had been killed by the blaze, which was started by lightning on Sept. 9 has burned into 15 giant sequoia groves in the park. Multiple burned trees fell in Giant Forest—which is home to about 2,000 sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree, considered the world's largest by volume. (Read more giant sequoias stories.)

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