A grove full of hundreds of mature giant sequoia trees in Yosemite National Park is in danger as a wildfire quickly spreads across the area.
The fire, now known as the Washburn fire, is burning near Mariposa Grove, where a lot of famous “named” trees are found, including the 3,000-year-old Grizzly Giant tree. Thus far, there have been no reports of damage to these beloved trees, CBS News reported. The sprinkler system that was set up to protect the beloved old trees was deployed yesterday, and park managers have worked to remove “fuel” like shrubbery that could go up in flames.
As of Sunday, the flames had spread across more than 2,000 acres of the national park and were 0% contained, according to CBS Sacramento. Area residents and park visitors camping near where the fire and smoke are now spreading were evacuated. Park managers have had to close the park’s southern entrance, and hundreds of firefighters have worked the last few days in hopes of containing the blaze.
Wildfires in arid parts of the world are not a new phenomenon. But we know that, as human activity has affected our climate, higher emissions have created conditions like longer droughts and more extreme heat that contribute to bigger fires. Containing the flames and keeping communities and wildlife safe are only part of the challenge. It can take years for ecosystems to recover after a devastating wildfire—some areas need decades to replenish the plant life that was lost.
2022’s season already has seen several record-breaking wildfires across the country. Just last month, Alaska officials confirmed that over a million acres of the state have been set ablaze by multiple record breaking fires. A fire in New Jersey had scorched over 12,000 acres this past June as well. New Mexico recently saw the biggest fire in its history.