In this Sunday, September 12 photo released by the KNP Complex Fire Incident Command, plumes of smoke rise from the Paradise Fire in Sequoia National Park, California.
Command / AP in case of fire of the KNP complex
The Paradise Fire blaze spun out of control Monday night, crossing the Generals Highway and the Kaweah River Center Fork, prompting the evacuation of park workers.
All facilities and services in Sequoia National Park, including campgrounds, visitor centers and park stores, are closed until the threat of fire is reduced, the park said.
“Due to forest fire activity in the area, we are closing all trails that enter Sequoia National Park to hiking and day hiking. All existing permit reservation holders will receive a full refund. “, added an alert on the park’s website. “As of September 12, backpackers will not be able to obtain an overnight wilderness permit from the Mineral King Valley area, Lodgepole or Giant Forest, or Ash Mountain (foothills).”
Other wilderness areas are open, the park said, but are “heavily affected” by smoke and unsafe air quality.
Sequoias only naturally grow on the western slopes of the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range. Some 7,500 to 10,600 mature giant sequoias were destroyed in last year’s fire, according to a National Park Service report.
This represents about 10-14% of the world’s mature redwood population.
While trees rely on fire to open their cones and release seeds to reproduce, these fires have historically burned naturally at lower temperatures, killing small trees and thinning the forest. But fire suppression efforts allowed the forest to become denser, which, combined with a drought lasting several years, allowed many of these trees to disappear. This created more fuels that burned hotter and more intensely than in previous fires.