General Sherman is the biggest tree on the planet (by volume) and it’s found in the Californian Sequoia National Park. It stands at 275 feet in height and has a 26 feet diameter. It’s taller than the Statue of Liberty and an amazing sight.
However, it’s also at risk. With the Californian wildfires raging, experts had to wrap Sherman in an aluminum material that’s resistant to burns to protect it from potential flames.
One of the Largest Trees in California Is Threatened by Flames
The KNP Complex Fire is the major threat for Sherman. It comprises of two blazes; the Colony and the Paradise.
Unfortunately, the KNP destroyed more than 23,000 acres of land and the National Park had to be shut down temporarily because the fire reached a small part of the home of the tree and 2000 other sequoia trees.
Prior to the breach, crews had to remove fuel, dislocate heavy logs, and wrap threatened trees to lower the potential damage. The superintendent of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, Clayton Jordan, explains that the threat and concerns aren’t solely for the sequoias, but for the entire area considering the devastating factor of fires.
He also added that their special team of resource managers is focused on protecting the sequoias while the firefighters focus on the main threats from the fires.
Sequoias Are at a High Risk from the Fires
In 2020, between 7500 and 10,600 mature sequoia trees were destroyed in the Castle Fire. This is between 10 and 14 percent of the global population of this tree.
This being said, the shiny material that the trees are now wrapped in helps reduce flames’ damage and it’s commonly used to protect structures, although rarer on natural features.
It’s also able to withstand extreme heat temperatures for short periods of time. Federal officials explain that they’ve been using this material for several years now in the west of the US in order to reduce the flame damage on sensitive structures.
This is why some homes near lake Tahoe were wrapped in it too and they survived the fires which wasn’t the case with other homes nearby that weren’t wrapped in it. The crews in the fight against the KNP fires note that they’re doing everything in their power to protect these amazing trees.
They’re wrapped at the base only since it’s not possible to do it 100 feet up to wrap it entirely. The bottom of the tree is a good place because the risk of fire catching is the highest there.