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KNP complex fire burns, threatening Sequoia reserve

The significant growth of the KNP complex fire that devastated Sequoia National Park resulted in the evacuation of parts of the Three Rivers foothills community, and it became the top priority in firefighting as the containment has remained elusive.

Comprised of the lightning-triggered Paradise and Colony fires, which ignited Thursday amid regional thunderstorms, the blaze had reached 7,039 acres with 0% containment on Wednesday.

As it exploded rapidly through drought-stricken, insect-killed trees, the blaze forced the closure of Sequoia National Park and the evacuation of employees who lived there. Areas of Three Rivers that are not subject to mandatory evacuation are subject to a warning. The adjoining King Canyon National Park remains open.

As of Wednesday, the flames were still about a mile from the famous Giant Forest, the largest concentration of towering giant sequoias in the park and home to the 275-foot General Sherman tree – considered the tallest tree in the world by volume, according to firefighters.

Firefighters were on high alert, strategically stationed to monitor the groves, said Mark Ruggiero, spokesperson for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. “We have a lot of crews there… and we are watching closely,” said Ruggiero.

Meanwhile, the Windy fire that burned south in the Sierra National Forest had also spread overnight – to just over 2,200 acres without containment – and appeared to be burning with low intensity in a grove of towering trees along the northwestern part of the blaze, according to firefighters.

The fire broke out in the Tule River Indian Reservation on Thursday before plunging into the National Forest and earlier this week seeped into the Peyrone Redwood Grove in the Redwoods National Monument giants.

Teams attempted to examine the grove – located on the northern perimeter of the blaze – for potential damage, but their location on steep and inaccessible terrain made it impossible to look closely, the spokesman for the fire said on Wednesday. fires, Thanh Nguyen.