Another giant sequoia grove has caught fire, this time in Yosemite National Park

Washburn Fire burned hundreds of acres at Mariposa Giant Sequoia Grove

6:15pm PDT Jul 8, 2022

Washburn Fire Map, 2:42 PM Jul 8, 2022
Washburn fire map. The dots represent the heat detected by a satellite as of 2:42 pm on July 8, 2022. The red dots are the most recent.

Another wildfire burning in a grove of giant sequoia trees – giant sequoias that can live for 3,000 years. The Washburn fire was reported at 2 p.m. Thursday, July 7 and by 4 p.m. Friday it was mapped by FIRIS over 466 acres. There is at least 150 acres of fire inside Mariposa’s giant sequoia grove at the southern end of Yosemite National Park two miles southeast of Wauna, a community that is subject to an evacuation order. The evacuation map has been published and the southern entrance to the park has been closed.

Initial surveys found that in a two-year periodIn 2020 and 2021, nearly 20 percent of all giant sequoias in their natural range over four feet in diameter were either killed by fire (and neglect) or will die in the next few years. In 2020, 10 to 14 percent of the total Sierra Nevada population were killed by giant sequoia trees over 4 feet in diameter in the castle fire. Early estimates after two fires the following year, the KNP Complex and the Windy Fire, were either killed or would die within the next three to five years.

Washburn Fire July 8, 2022
Washburn Fire, July 8, 2022. NPS Photo.

The planes reported that as activity increased in the Washburn Fire Friday afternoon, multiple fires occurred near the Merced River and east of Interstate 41, some 0.7 miles before the main fire.

Washburn Fire
Washburn Fire, looking north from the Deadwood AlertWildfire camera at 5:23 p.m. on July 8, 2022.

The National Park Service conducted four identified fires east of Washburn Fire, in 2003, 2004, 2006, and 2016 for a total of 295 acres. This would reduce some of the fuel in those areas, which could slow spread at those treated sites, reduce the intensity of wildfires, and the death of giant sequoia. Modern treatments are the most effective for modifying the behavior of wildfires.

Washburn Fire, fuel processors
Washburn Fire, fuel processors
Washburn Fire
Washburn Fire, as seen from a firefighting helicopter. Photo by countryheli, July 8, 2022.
Washburn Fire shortly after its discovery, July 7, 2022
Washburn Fire shortly after its discovery, July 7, 2022. NPS photo.

author: Bill Jabert

After working full-time in prairie fires for 33 years, he continues to learn, striving to be a student of fire. Looking at all of Bill Gabert’s posts

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