Giant Sequoia Trees Threaten 3000 Years Old in Yosemite National Park
Firefighters are making progress on the Washburn fire in Yosemite National Park – the south and west sides are starting to look safer. At 12:53 p.m. Tuesday it is set on 3,516 acres.
Nearly 340 acres of fire lie within a mariposa grove of giant sequoia, some of which are nearly 3,000 years old. The National Park Service reported Tuesday that more than 500 mature giant sequoias in close proximity to the heavy fuel have so far avoided major fire damage.
On Monday, firefighters extinguished about 15 spot fires on the west side of the blaze that was across Highway 41. They now have a fire line around the Wawona community and have structural defense equipment in place.
On the northeast side, the line completed from the highway all the way to the South Fork of the Merced River and around the community. On the north side, fires have reached the river in most places and crews are putting out spot fires as they occur across the river in the fire scar from the 2017 South Fork Fire.
The eastern side continues to spread. Firefighters with the help of air carriers have built the line of fire along the hills east of Wawona Point and so far it has held out. One mile to the east, crews are evaluating the feasibility of building a fireline between Mount Raymond and the river in order to stop movement after that point.
Yosemite manager Cecily Muldoon said the fire was caused by humans.
“As you all know there was no lightning that day, so it’s a human start,” Muldoon said Monday night. “It’s under investigation. That’s all I can say about it right now. We’re looking at this seriously.”
The weather for this week will remain warm and dry due to the reinforcement of the high pressure system. Winds should remain light to moderate and mostly terrain driven. Temperatures will reach the low 90s and relative humidity will be in the 20-30 percent range.