Firefighters use sprinklers to save giant sequoias in Yosemite

During the 15-month period from 2020 to 2021, an estimated 13 to 19 percent of the world’s redwood population was killed or fatally injured, according to a National Park Service report. Scientists say this figure is especially surprising given how few people died in previous centuries.

“I’ve counted a lot of dead giant sequoias, and I don’t like it,” said Mr. Dickman, a forest ecologist who spent last fall counting trees felled by the Windy Fire. At the end of the day, Mr. Dickman would get into his car, put his head on the steering wheel and sob.

“It’s like counting dead people,” he said. “He hurt me.”

Officials said Tuesday morning that Mariposa Grove’s mature giant sequoias “have not been seriously damaged so far” by the fire and that they are confident they can be saved.

The cause of the Washburn fire was under investigation, but was likely human-caused, Yosemite National Park Superintendent Cicely Muldoon said at a community meeting Monday evening.

“As you all know, there was no lightning that day,” Ms Muldoon said.

The fight to save the sequoias is as much a fight against the relentless force of global warming as it is a bid to save a piece of ancient history and the cultural heritage of the West. First laid out by Abraham Lincoln in 1864, Mariposa Park was “the root of the entire national park system,” Ms. Muldoon noted.

An 1861 photograph of a Grizzly Giant by Carleton Watkins was among the first photographs of Yosemite sent east, according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and “supported the notion that Yosemite was a relic of North America’s Eden.”

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