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California firefighters wrap iconic trees with life-saving blankets

The sequoia trees in the Sequoia National Park Giant Forest being wrapped with protective cover against the raging wildfire (Pics. Courtesy Twitter/@YosemiteSteve)

With the wildfires burning in Sierra Nevada in California firefighters got into action to save the famous grove of gigantic and old sequoias in the Sequoia National Park Giant Forest, including the General Sherman, thought to be more than 2,300 years old. They have wrapped the base of these trees with a fire-resistant blanket.

According to a report in cbsnews.com, talking to the media, the fire spokesperson, Rebecca Paterson said the colossal General Sherman Tree in the Park, along with some other sequoias, and some buildings like the Giant Forest Museum were covered to guard them from intense flames.

Of the two fires raging in the Sequoia National Park, the Colony Fire, as per fire officials, was expected to reach the Giant Forest, a grove of 2,000 sequoias, at some point within days.

Also read: All California national forests to be closed due to wildfires

The wrapping material is made of aluminium and it can resist for short periods the intense heat of the fire. According to the Federal authorities, this material has been used for many years for the protection of sensitive structures from flames. Some homes near Lake Tahoe were saved by his protective material in the recent wildfire.

Last year too a wildfire had killed sequoias in thousands – some of which were thousands of years old and as tall as high-rise buildings.

One of the prominent attractions of the Park, the General Sherman Tree is the largest in the world according to the National Park Service. Its height is 275 feet high and at the ground level, the circumference is 103 feet.

Climate change coupled with a historic drought and heat waves have rendered wildfire very difficult to fight in the American West. The climate change as per scientists has made the region much warmer and drier in the past 30 years. This they said will continue to make weather more extreme and also increase the frequency and destructiveness of the wildfires.

Also read: Climate change could force migration of 216 million people: World Bank

The two fires, namely the 11.5-square mile Paradise Fire and the three-square mile Colony Fire are being tackled by a national interagency fire management team. Burning of vegetation and other fuel which could lead to feeding the fire is being done.

Due to the fires, the Park was evacuated this week as were parts of the town of Three Rivers located outside its entrance.