California keeps taking hits. A string of fires sparked by lightning storms is now threatening the area’s majestic sequoia trees. This comes after the region was engulfed in flames for much of the summer. Following the Dixie and Caldor Fires, firefighters are now battling the series of pop-up flames.
So far, however, a group of sequoias in the Sequoia National Park has been untouched. This is thanks to the added protection from officials who removed vegetation, according to the AP.
They additionally wrapped the base of the trees in fire-resistant material. These large trees, known as the Four Guardsman, stand at the entryway to the Giant Forest. Officials are working diligently to contain the flames and preserve the iconic trees.
Along the western edge of Sierra Nevada, the flames burned more than 37 square miles of land.
Despite this good news, there’s no telling how other parts of the park have faired. Another lightning-caused fire known as the Windy Fire, broke out near the Giant Sequoia National Monument area of Sequoia National Forest. This also runs along the Tule River Indian Reservation.
A spokesperson for the fire command did confirm that in this area, the Windy Fire burned at least a portion of a sequoia tree.
California Fires Throughout the Summer
While California is a massive state, thousands of wildfires this year caused damage to more than 3,000 homes and commercial structures. The devastating Dixie Fire is the second-worst wildfire in California’s history. It burned more than 1 million acres of land alone. It took firefighters months to contain it. During their efforts, about 65 miles south of the fire’s origin, the Caldor Fire broke out on Aug. 14.
This blaze consumed half a million acres of land and pushed wildlife and residents from their homes. Major evacuations were mandated near Lake Tahoe ahead of Labor Day weekend. Putting tourism on the back burner, businesses lost out on $45 million over the popular holiday weekend.
Further, as the fire edged towards the Lake Tahoe basin, air quality also reached treacherous levels. Residents were instructed to stay inside and wear masks.
Firefighters were finally able to contain the blaze to over 60% in mid-September. Residents in the area celebrated their tireless efforts with a parade of thanks.
More than 7,000 wildfires occurred in California this year. The droughts combined with extreme heat are partially responsible for the outbreak. Together, 3,000 square miles of land were scorched.
Additionally, several states in the west have experienced similar conditions since the beginning of June. Temperatures reaching triple digits plagued Washington, Montana, Oregon, and California. Several states are still grappling with the season’s harsh weather.