More than a quarter of California’s groves were destroyed by fires in Sequoia National Park and the area’s Sequoia National Forest, which also destroyed an estimated 500 huge redwoods some 200 feet tall and more than 2000 years old. Despite such a huge fire, many ancient trees in that area known as Giant Sequoia trees were able to survive.

One of the largest fires in California history, the Rim Fire has raged for nine days and consumed 134,000 acres. Away from the famous Yosemite Valley by approximately 20 miles (32 kilometers), the flames have mostly been contained to Yosemite’s isolated northern region.

“We have to go to the ends of the earth to protect this tree,” said Garrett Dickman, a forest environment ecologist at Yosemite National Park who helps protect Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, the largest and most popular of the park’s three clusters of more than 500 adult trees. As a result, individual trees can often be 1,000 to 3,000 years old and have survived many fires.

The low-level fire, dubbed the Washburn Fire, likely killed a few recent redwoods growing in the south portion of the park’s Mariposa Grove, said Stanley Bercovitz, a spokesman for the fire department’s incident management team.

According to her, the larger trees will be going to okay. Smaller, less robust, non-giant sequoias will perish, although this is less because they are defending the trees.

Sillett added mature sequoias are equipped to withstand even the most intense flames. They may grow up to two feet thick with fibrous, fire-resistant bark. Even the largest trees can be damaged by flames, although they often do not die.

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And the forests are becoming denser, dotted with dead wood and smaller, combustible vegetation.

Drought-bucked fires in California’s Sierra Nevada, the giant redwood tree’s natural habitat, have wiped out up to 20% of its tree population, biologists have reported.

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is an American national park in California, surrounded on the southeast by Sierra National Forest and on the northwest by Stanislaus National Forest. (wikipedia)

Kings Canyon National Park

Kings Canyon National Park is an American national park in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Fresno and Tulare Counties, California. Originally established in 1890 as General Grant National Park, (wikipedia)