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Sequoia National Park's giant trees are at risk as fires grow

A fire spokesperson says the Colony Fire poses a threat to the Sequoia National Park's Giant Forest.
Credit: AP
Cones block the entrance to Sequoia National Park, Calif., as the KNP Complex Fire burns nearby on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. The blaze is burning near the Giant Forest, home to more than 2,000 giant sequoias. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

SEQUOIA CREST, Calif. — More firefighting resources are being brought in to battle two forest fires that have shut down California's Sequoia National Park and are threatening its ancient trees.

 A national interagency management team is scheduled to take command of the fires Thursday. The lightning-sparked Colony and Paradise fires covered about 14 square miles on Wednesday. A fire spokesperson says the Colony Fire poses a threat to the Sequoia National Park's Giant Forest.

The grove is home to more than 2,000 giant sequoias. More than 300 firefighters are being aided by helicopters and airplane tankers when smoke conditions allow flights.  

WILDFIRE PREPS

According to Cal Fire, 2020 was one of the most severe fire seasons on record as 9,917 wildfires burned 4.2 million acres. Over 9,000 structures were destroyed, and 31 people (civilians and firefighters) were killed. 

California also experienced its first "Gigafire" because of the August Complex Fire, burning over 1 million acres by itself. Four of California's top five largest wildfires in state history happened in 2020. 

If you live in a wildfire-prone zone, Cal Fire suggests creating a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation and other debris are completely cleared. At least 100 feet is recommended.

The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling an emergency kit that has important documents, N95 respirator masks, supplies to grab with you if you’re forced to leave at a moment’s notice. The agency also suggests signing up for local warning system notifications and know your community’s evacuation plans best to prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.

Some counties use Nixle alerts to update residents on severe weather, wildfires, and other news. To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or text your zip code to 888777 to start receiving alerts. 

Read more: Are you wildfire ready? Here's what to do to prepare for fire season.

PG&E customers can also subscribe to alerts via text, email, or phone call. If you're a PG&E customer, visit the Profile & Alerts section of your account to register.

What questions do you have about the latest wildfires? If you're impacted by the wildfires, what would you like to know? Text the ABC10 team at (916) 321-3310.

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