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Two wildfires sparked by lightning strikes threaten to destroy trees in Sequoia National Park

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Firefighters have stepped up efforts to push back two spreading wildfires ignited by lightning strikes that threaten to converge in Sequoia National Park.

The Colony and Paradise fires consumed 7,038 acres of forest in California’s Sierra Nevada, according to InciWeb data.

The Colony Fire posed a threat to Giant Forest, home to more than 2,000 giant redwoods and the General Sherman Tree — the world’s largest tree — but not immediately, said Mark Ruggiero, fire information officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Superintendent Clay Jordan said at a community meeting on Tuesday that crews were struggling to reach the blaze because of the area’s steep terrain and said air teams “literally started painting the mountains red with retardant” to protect themselves. prepare for the possible arrival of the fire.

The Colony Fire posed a threat to Giant Forest, home to more than 2,000 giant redwoods and the General Sherman Tree — the world’s largest tree — but not immediately, said Mark Ruggiero, fire information officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. With the addition of the Fire of Paradise, the trees are now at greater risk

The Colony and Paradise fires have consumed 7,038 acres of forest in California's Sierra Nevada, according to InciWeb data

The Colony and Paradise fires have consumed 7,038 acres of forest in California’s Sierra Nevada, according to InciWeb data

The fires are among the latest in a long summer of fires that have scorched more than 3,500 square miles in California and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Sequoia National Park has been closed and headquarters and employees have been evacuated, along with part of the Three Rivers community outside the entrance amid the latest threat.

The park’s historic 1935 wooden entrance sign was covered with fire-resistant wrapping, and hoses were installed in the headquarters to protect the structure.

The fires are among the latest in a long summer of fires that have scorched more than 3,500 square miles in California and destroyed hundreds of homes.

The fires are among the latest in a long summer of fires that have scorched more than 3,500 square miles in California and destroyed hundreds of homes.

Sequoia National Park has been closed and its headquarters and staff have been evacuated, along with part of the Three Rivers community outside the entrance amid the latest threat

Sequoia National Park has been closed and its headquarters and staff have been evacuated, along with part of the Three Rivers community outside the entrance amid the latest threat

More than 300 firefighters stood on the line, assisted by helicopters and air tankers when smoke conditions allowed

More than 300 firefighters stood on the line, assisted by helicopters and air tankers when smoke conditions allowed

More than 300 firefighters stood on the line, assisted by helicopters and air tankers when smoke conditions allowed.

Tomorrow, a national interagency management team will take over the fires, jointly managed as the KNP complex, Ruggiero said.

A 50-year history of using prescription burns to remove other types of trees and vegetation in the park’s redwood groves would help the giants survive by mitigating the impact if flames reach them, Ruggiero said.

Giant sequoias, several thousand years old, live on the western flank of the Sierra. They are adapted to fire, which can help them thrive by releasing seeds from their cones and creating open spaces for young redwoods to grow.

A dry flow onshore provides ideal conditions for the fire to spread throughout the week, Inciweb said – although maximum temperatures will be a few degrees warmer than the area’s seasonal average, a cooling trend will start from Thursday, allowing proper ventilation for fire creates growth. Afternoon and evening winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 miles per hour will push the fire further across the Sierra Nevada landscape.

Ruggiero noted that the extraordinary intensity of fires in current climate conditions could overwhelm redwoods, a scenario that played out when the 2020 castle fire killed many trees in the region.

Studies estimate that 7,500 to 10,600 large redwoods were killed by that fire, along with many other sizes, according to the National Park Service.

The colony fire also poses a greater danger because it burns at an elevation of the central Sierra, which is home to 280 million pines and other species of trees killed by drought and bark beetles, Ruggiero said.

A dry flow onshore provides ideal conditions for the fire to spread throughout the week, Inciweb said - although maximum temperatures will be a few degrees warmer than the area's seasonal average, a cooling trend will start from Thursday, allowing proper ventilation for fire creates growth.  Afternoon and evening winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 miles per hour will push the fire further across the Sierra Nevada landscape

A dry flow onshore provides ideal conditions for the fire to spread throughout the week, Inciweb said – although maximum temperatures will be a few degrees warmer than the area’s seasonal average, a cooling trend will start from Thursday, allowing proper ventilation for fire creates growth. Afternoon and evening winds of 15 to 25 miles per hour with gusts up to 40 miles per hour will push the fire further across the Sierra Nevada landscape

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Superintendent Clay Jordan said at a community meeting on Tuesday that crews were struggling to reach the blaze because of the area's steep terrain and said air teams

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks Superintendent Clay Jordan said at a community meeting on Tuesday that crews were struggling to reach the blaze because of the area’s steep terrain and said air teams “literally started painting the mountains red with retardant” to protect themselves. to prepare for the possible arrival of the fire

“The Colony Fire is specifically burning in a really bad place…where these trees are like straws and it’s therefore difficult to place firefighters in some of these areas,” he said.

Elsewhere, two California fires that have caused extensive devastation in the northern Sierra and southern Cascades did not increase.

The second largest fire ever in the state, the Dixie Fire, remains 75 percent under control after burning 1,500 square miles in the northern Sierra and southern Cascades region.

Near Lake Tahoe, the containment of the 342-square-mile Caldor Fire increased to 70 percent.

North of San Francisco, a 20-year-old Ukiah man was arrested and jailed on Tuesday on suspicion of lighting the Hopkins Fire in Mendocino County, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said in a statement.

The fire that broke out north of Ukiah on Sunday charred 257 acres (104 hectares), destroying homes and forcing evacuations.

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