A massive fire in Yosemite National Park, California, threatens a forest of rare redwoods. Firefighters set up a line to protect trees that are sometimes thousands of years old.
The so-called Washburn Forest Fire broke out in the well-known nature park several days ago and is now about 11 square kilometers in size. Tourists and locals have been evacuated from the vicinity as firefighters struggle to control the flames.
The oldest tree in the forest, estimated to be 3,000 years old, the Grizzly Giant, is kept wet to prevent fire, writes Los Angeles Times†
Sequoias are found only on the western side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in California. There are 500 in Yosemite now threatened. Trees are often hundreds to thousands of years old and can reach tens of meters in height and several meters in circumference.
Redwoods are originally fireproof, but in recent years they have been increasingly affected by the California wildfires, which are becoming hotter and more intense due to climate change. A fire last year in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks killed 3,600 redwood trees, roughly 3 to 5 percent of all redwoods in the world. A year ago, 10 percent of all redwood trees worldwide died from fires in the same area.
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