SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — At least a tenth of the world’s mature giant sequoia trees were destroyed by a single California wildfire that tore through the southern Sierra Nevada last year, according to a draft report prepared by scientists with the National Park Service.
The Visalia Times-Delta newspaper obtained a copy of the report that describes catastrophic destruction from the Castle Fire, which charred 273 square miles (707 square km) of timber in Sequoia National Park.
Researchers used satellite imagery and modeling from previous fires to determine that between 7,500 and 10,000 of the towering species perished in the fire. That equates to 10% to 14% of the world’s mature giant sequoia population, the newspaper said.-
“I cannot overemphasize how mind-blowing this is for all of us. These trees have lived for thousands of years. They’ve survived dozens of wildfires already,” said Christy Brigham, chief of resources management and science at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.
The consequences of losing large numbers of giant sequoias could be felt for decades, forest managers said. Redwood and sequoia forests are among the world’s most efficient at removing and storing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The groves also provide critical habitat for native wildlife and help protect the watershed that supplies farms and communities on the San Joaquin Valley floor.
Brigham, the study’s lead author, cautioned that the numbers are preliminary and the research paper has yet to be peer reviewed. Beginning next week, teams of scientists will hike to the groves that experienced the most fire damage for the first time since the ashes settled.
“I have a vain hope that once we get out on the ground the situation won’t be as bad, but that’s hope — that’s not science,” she said.
The newspaper said the extent of the damage to one of the world’s most treasured trees is noteworthy because the sequoias themselves are incredibly well adapted to fire. The old-growth trees — some of which are more than 2,000 years old and 250 feet (76 meters) tall — require fire to burst their pine cones and reproduce.
“One-hundred years of fire suppression, combined with climate change-driven hotter droughts, have changed how fires burn in the southern Sierra and that change has been very bad for sequoia,” Brigham said.
Sequoia and Kings Canyon have conducted controlled burns since the 1960s, about a thousand acres a year on average. Brigham estimates that the park will need to burn around 30 times that number to get the forest back to a healthy state.
The Castle Fire erupted on Aug. 19 in the Golden Trout Wilderness amid a flurry of lightning strikes. The Shotgun Fire, a much smaller blaze burning nearby, was discovered shortly afterward, and the two were renamed the Sequoia Complex.
more recommended stories
Frontier Airlines will fly to Cancun out of Hobby Airport in Houston, TX
Frontier Airlines is coming to Hobby Airport!.
Clothing industry businessmen predict a better outlook for 2022 in Yucatan
Yucatecan businessmen assure that despite the.
Ford shuts off orders for New “Assembled in Mexico” $20,000 Maverick Pickup trucks
Ford F -4.12% Motor Co. is taking the unusual.
Lufthansa and Air France join forces against European Union’s climate plans for aviation
An alliance of airlines and airports.
Conventions and national assemblies are expected in Mérida for the month of March
The business organization announced that the.
Puerto Rican artist shoots video in Izamal, Yucatan (VIDEO)
Luis Alfonso Rodríguez (San Juan, April.
Scientists say there is an entirely new Coronaviruses lurk in animals waiting to leap into humans
Two months after scientists in South.
Cruise ship is re-routed to the Bahamas to avoid punishment for an unpaid fuel bill in Miami
A cruise ship singer described the.
Yucatan registered a record for maternal mortality in 2021
The foregoing placed the entity among.
Murdered journalist told AMLO personally she feared for her life
Journalist Lourdes Maldonado López stood before.