Sequoia National Park Shut Down as Two Wildfires Are Threatening Its Iconic Giant Trees

by Madison Miller

This year, wildfires have raged all across the country and have left behind an unprecedented amount of scorched land in its wake.

There have been about 2,243,663 acres and counting burned during the ongoing season of wildfires in California.

Sequoia National Park Shut Down

Now, one of the infamous national parks in California faces extreme threats by looming wildfires. The Sequoia National Park in southern California is currently closed as two different wildfires threaten to burn down the gorgeous, famous trees the park is named after. All campgrounds, visitor centers, and park stores are closed until the fire is diminished in the area.

All trailheads going into the park remain closed down to the public.

The fires continue to burn in the direction of Giant Forest, which is home to more than 2,000 giant sequoias. One of which is the General Sherman Tree, which is actually the world’s largest tree. It sits along the Sierra Nevada mountains. The magnificent piece of nature stands at an astounding 275 feet and is over 36 feet in diameter.

The fires are the Colony and Paradise fires, which is the region each fire started in. A lightning strike ignited the fires on Thursday. The fires have been grouped into what is called the KNP Complex, which has burned about 6,000 acres within the park’s footprint and is currently at 0% containment.

As of right now, fire officials are saying that there is no imminent risk to the trees or the park, but it is a very real and depressing possibility.

According to Daily Mail, the closest flames are a mile from the grove. All workers at Sequoia National Park are under evacuation orders. The fires are incredibly smoky in nature, which is making it hard for crews to battle using water or retardant.

The Park and the Loss of Historic Trees

It’s another hard year for the Sequoia National Park. The fires continue to get worse year by year due to climate conditions. Last year, the Castle Fire destroyed 10% of the population of sequoias.

In fact, according to the National Park Service, there has been two-thirds of “giant sequoia grove acreage across the Sierra Nevada has burned in wildfires between 2015 and 2020.”

These trees are timeless relics of nature. They can range from a few hundred years old to 3,000 years old. For many people, the raging fires in California and elsewhere are igniting a major call to action.

“The unprecedented number of giant sequoias lost to fire last year serves as a call to action. We know that climate change is increasing the length and severity of our fire seasons due to hotter temperatures and drought. To combat these emerging threats to our forests, we must come together across agencies. Actions that are good for protecting our forests are also good for protecting our communities,” Clay Jordan, the superintendent of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, said in a July statement, according to CNN.

The KNP Complex has firefighters aggressively attacking the flames. The hope is to keep them at a safe distance from the park and then eventually extinguish them completely.