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Sequoia National Park: KNP complex fire reaches part of giant forest

(CNN) – The KNP complex fire in California reached a “small area” of the giant forest of Sequoia National Park, which is home to some of the tallest trees in the world, according to fire officials.

The blaze, which burned 21,777 acres, reached the Four Guards area, where officials have spent the past few days preparing trees for the threat of a fire, according to an update Saturday on InciWeb, a center national exchange of information on forest fires.
The base of the General Sherman tree, the world’s largest by volume, had been wrapped in an aluminum-based burn-resistant material. But the tree was not affected by the fire on Saturday, according to the update.

The KNP complex fire was 0% contained on Saturday. Firefighters expected winds to pick up in the area on Sunday, triggering a red flag warning that will remain in effect throughout the day.

“Crews are bracing for changes and possible significant increases in fire activity,” the update said on Saturday.

More than 600 people are battling the blaze, which initially consisted of three separate fires started by lightning earlier this month, according to the National Park Service. One of them was 100% content, but two – the Paradise Fire and the Colony Fire – merged on Friday and will now be considered one fire, per InciWeb.

“Protecting communities is our primary focus and always will be,” Clayton Jordan, director of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, told CNN on Sunday. “And this is where most of the firefighting efforts are focused.”

“But we have a special team of resource managers led by park staff who focus on protecting the redwoods while the firefighters deal with the main threat of the blaze,” he said, adding that there are “a number of tools” used.

One is to wrap the trees in the “high tech aluminum foil and fiberglass cloth” that was used on the General Sherman tree. The material, Jordan said, works to protect the base of the tree where it may have past fire scars that would make it vulnerable to fire. It is the same material that firefighters use for emergency shelters, he added.

“This is one of the many steps that have been taken to try to protect these really important trees,” Jordan said.

Last year, between 7,500 and 10,600 mature giant sequoias were destroyed in the castle fire – about 10 to 14 percent of the world’s mature sequoias – according to a National Park Service report released in June.

Authorities last week worked to ease the handling of the blaze. But this time, the wildfire is burning in places where the National Park Service has no history of fire, a park official told CNN, which means there is a lot of bloom that could fuel the burn.

“We basically told the fire crews to treat all of our special redwoods as if they were buildings and wrap them all up, pick up all the trash and roll the heavy logs,” said Christy Brigham, chief management officer. resources and science for the Sequoia. and Kings Canyon National Parks.

Jon Passantino, Deanna Hackney, Stephanie Elam, Christina Maxouris and Alisha Ebrahimji contributed to this report.

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