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California wildfire threatens ‘Grizzly Giant’ sequoia

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One of the world’s oldest trees is safe for now. But wildfires in Yosemite National Park are still threatening the 3000-year-old “Grizzly Giant.”

The sequoia is one of more than 500 mature trees in the famed Mariposa Grove, the largest sequoia grove in Yosemite. Crews installed a remote sprinkler system there to keep the tree trunks moist. Officials are hoping that system, along with previous prescribed burns, will be enough to keep flames at bay.

Garret Dickman, a botanist with the National Park Service, is one of the experts on the ground trying to save the 209-foot-tall Grizzly Giant.

“[It’s] arguably one of the most famous trees on earth,” Dickman said. “We’ve got a sprinkler system set up around it, and we’re trying to give it some, you know, preventative first aid really, and make sure that when the fire, if the fire, comes over here, that this tree is protected. We really don’t want to leave this one to chance because this is such an iconic tree.”

The Washburn Fire started burning on July 7, 2022. More than 500 firefighters are on scene, where the fire is burning in difficult terrain with plenty of fuel. A significant number of dead trees aren’t just helping sustain the fire — they also present a significant safety hazard for firefighters.

From Sunday night to Monday morning, the Washburn Fire doubled in size. It’s now burned more than 2000 acres in three days. The weather report for the area is calling for intense heat for the next several days and no rain. Campers and residents are being evacuated from near the fire, but Yosemite National Park still remains open to visitors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ONE OF THE WORLD’S OLDEST TREES IS SAFE, FOR NOW, BUT WILDFIRES IN YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK ARE STILL THREATENING  THE 3000-YEAR-OLD GRIZZLY GIANT.

THE SEQUOIA IS ONE OF MORE THAN 500 MATURE TREES IN THE FAMED MARIOPOSA GROVE, THE LARGEST SEQUOIA GROVE IN YOSEMITE. A SPRINKLER SYSTEM SET UP THERE KEEPS THE TREE TRUNKS MOIST. OFFICIALS ARE HOPING THAT SYSTEM, ALONG WITH PREVIOUS PRESCRIBED BURNS WILL BE ENOUGH TO KEEP FLAMES AT BAY.

DICKMAN: I’M STANDING IN FRONT OF THE GRIZZLY GIANT, WHICH IS ARGUABLY ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS TREES ON EARTH. WE’VE GOT A SPRINKLER SYSTEM SET UP AROUND IT. AND WE’RE TRYING TO GIVE IT SOME, YOU KNOW, PREVENTATIVE FIRST AID, REALLY, AND MAKE SURE THAT WHEN THE FIRE, IF THE FIRE COMES OVER HERE, THAT THIS TREE IS PROTECTED…WE REALLY DON’T WANT TO LEAVE THIS ONE TO CHANCE BECAUSE THIS IS SUCH AN ICONIC TREE.”

THE WASHBURN FIRE STARTED ON JULY 7TH AND OFFICIALS SAY IT IS BURNING IN DIFFICULT TERRAIN WITH PLENTY OF FUEL. A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF DEAD TREES AREN’T JUST HELPING THE FIRE GROW THEY ALSO PRESENT A SIGNIFICANT SAFETY HAZARD FOR FIREFIGHTERS.

FROM SUNDAY NIGHT TO MONDAY MORNING, THE WASHBURN FIRE DOUBLED IN SIZE. IT’S NOW BURNED MORE THAN 2000 ACRES IN THREE DAYS.

AND WITH THE WEATHER REPORT FOR THE AREA CALLING FOR INTENSE HEAT FOR THE NEXT SEVERAL DAYS, AND NO RAIN, CAMPERS AND RESIDENTS ARE BEING EVACUATED.

HOWEVER YOSEMITE STILL REMAINS OPEN TO VISITORS.

One of the world’s oldest trees is safe for now. But wildfires in Yosemite National Park are still threatening the 3000-year-old “Grizzly Giant.”

The sequoia is one of more than 500 mature trees in the famed Mariposa Grove, the largest sequoia grove in Yosemite. Crews installed a remote sprinkler system there to keep the tree trunks moist. Officials are hoping that system, along with previous prescribed burns, will be enough to keep flames at bay.

Garret Dickman, a botanist with the National Park Service, is one of the experts on the ground trying to save the 209-foot-tall Grizzly Giant.

“[It’s] arguably one of the most famous trees on earth,” Dickman said. “We’ve got a sprinkler system set up around it, and we’re trying to give it some, you know, preventative first aid really, and make sure that when the fire, if the fire, comes over here, that this tree is protected. We really don’t want to leave this one to chance because this is such an iconic tree.”

The Washburn Fire started burning on July 7, 2022. More than 500 firefighters are on scene, where the fire is burning in difficult terrain with plenty of fuel. A significant number of dead trees aren’t just helping sustain the fire — they also present a significant safety hazard for firefighters.

From Sunday night to Monday morning, the Washburn Fire doubled in size. It’s now burned more than 2000 acres in three days. The weather report for the area is calling for intense heat for the next several days and no rain. Campers and residents are being evacuated from near the fire, but Yosemite National Park still remains open to visitors.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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