- BBC News World
It is an image that lovers of the iconic giant trees of the United States surely never thought they would see one day.
The most famous inhabitant of the Sequoia National Park in California, the tree known as General Sherman, was wrapped by firefighters in aluminum blankets to protect it from fire.
The flames continue to rage in that natural reserve and the authorities fear that the fire could reach a place called Giant Forest, Giant Forest, which is home to some of the largest trees in the world.
General Sherman, a giant sequoia (Sequoiadendron giganteum) it is considered the individual tree with the highest amount of biomass on the planet. Is he largest tree in the world by volume, according to the United States National Park Service.
At 83.8 meters high, it is not the tallest tree on the planet, since it corresponds to another sequoia called Hyperion at 115.5 meters, which is located in Redwood National Park, in northern California.
But General Sherman is the largest single-trunk tree, with a 31-meter trunk perimeter, about 11 meters in diameter at the base, and a meter-thick bark.
It is estimated that the giant weighs about two thousand tons and their age is between 2,300 and 2,700 years.
Redwoods are very fire resistant and have evolved to survive flames.
But the extraordinary intensity of the current fires may end up defeating these trees. Last year the fire named Castle killed thousands of redwoods.
Currently, the Colony and Paradise fires have been growing in Sequoia National Park for a week.
More than 350 firefighters, along with helicopters and water-launch aircraft have mobilized to combat the flames.
Firefighters wrapped not only General Sherman’s base and other trees with protective blankets. They also covered some of the most famous posters in the park.
Aluminum blankets can resist fire for short periods.
“It is a very important area for many, many people., so a great special effort is being made to protect this grove, “Rebeca Paterson, spokeswoman for the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, told the LA Times.
The fires are the latest in a long summer of fires in California.
More than 7,400 forest fires they have burned in the state this year, burning more than 800 thousand hectares.
The fires have been driven by higher temperatures and extreme drought conditions.
Climate change is increasing the risk of very hot and dry conditions, which can fuel fires.
The number of dry, hot, and windy days in the fall in California have been more than doubled since the 80’s.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.