The Rough Fire burning in California’s Sierra Nevada has consumed over 110,000 acres of forest. The blaze is now threatening a treasured grove of ancient trees.
Firefighters in Kings Canyon National Park are clearing the area around the Grant Grove of Giant Sequoia trees as the Rough Fire burns miles away. Fire official Michael Johnson says while Giant Sequoias typically can endure fire, the state’s drought has stressed the forest.
JOHNSON: “If you have an area of forest that has an overabundance of latter fuels that can take ground fire up into the canopies of the tree there’s potential the tree crown could be damaged.”
Johnson says sprinklers are being installed near the trees to help protect them.
JOHNSON: “Using some of those existing fire breaks and treated areas they are going to be able to hopefully catch the fire before it gets into the Grant Grove area.”
Crews are also working to protect park service buildings and private homes in the area, which is under a mandatory evacuation order.
The grove is named for the General Grant tree, which stands 268 feet tall and is estimated to be over 1,600 years old.