Two massive fires caused by lightning have struck a single California conflagration and headed toward an ancient redwood forest, where firefighters had to temporarily flee as they tried to protect the world’s tallest tree by placing ultra-thin aluminum foil on the base.
The National Park Service reported that a change in weather Friday caused a massive increase in flames in Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada, and the fire reached the western edge of the giant forest, where it burned a range of redwoods known as. The “Four Guardians” who point to the entrance to the 2,000-tree forest.
Firefighters wrapped the base of the General Sherman tree and the other trees in the giant forest with a kind of ultra-thin plate of high-temperature aluminum. A spokeswoman for the firefighters, Katie Hooper, said it was not currently known how the four guards, to whom the same technique was applied, performed.
The General Sherman tree is the largest in the world by volume (1,487 m (52,508 cu ft) according to the National Park Service and reaches a height of 84 m (275 ft) and a circumference of 31 m (103 ft) at ground level.
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The fires, known collectively as the KNP complex, have blackened 72 square kilometers (28 square miles) of forest land. Huber said the flames increased in intensity on Friday afternoon as the wind intensified and the low smoke dissipated, which reduced the presence of air and limited the spread of the fire in recent days.
Hooper said firefighters wrap redwood bases in aluminum and remove leaves and other debris from the forest floor around the trees, and they had to flee the danger. He added that they returned on Saturday when conditions improved to continue their work and start a strategic fire along the Generals Highway to protect the giant trees of the forest.