Yosemite National Park wildfires stymie tourists, threaten sequoias: ‘The fire was literally right in front of us’

By Alex Wigglesworth and Diana Markm, The Los Angeles Times

Fish Camp, California – Michael Gilbert, a 67-year-old rock international and bell ranger, was able to breathe on Friday as his first mother and daughter heard about the fire at Yosemite National Park.

They were near the magnificent Sequoia in the park’s famous Mariposa Grove. They saw this “big” fire. His mother stretched out her arms wide and showed a few shoes. They ran for a few seconds and looked back. Two trees were set on fire. After 20 seconds, she speaks more trees than you can count.

As the story unfolded, firefighters were flying overhead, Gilbert recalled from a post at the Tanya Lodge on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, the Washington fire spread to 703 hectares of land, threatening some 500 securities with the Wawa community.

The blaze was the latest in a series of wildfires that have endangered the ancient giants of Sierra Nevada. Although they have been adapted to grow in the wild, the Sequoia are no match for the devastating wildfires caused by climate change, drought, and decades of fires, which have resulted in the accumulation of dense vegetation in some forests.

“As a result of these combinations, these fires are larger and more powerful and will last longer than anyone has seen in any experience,” said Yosemite Fire Spokesman Nancy Filipe.

She said workers were spraying trees in Mariposa Grove and trying to control the spread of the fire by grounding it into mineral soil. Ancient names, such as Griezli Giant, were preceded by trees, and some Sequoia were wrapped in protective foil.

“This 2,000- to 3,000-year-old tree has a rich and extensive history that dates back to Abraham Lincoln,” Philip said. The president

“There is such a wonderful feeling you have when you are with those giant trees – it eats you like this. “It’s a very strong connection to history and nature and to the park.”

On Saturday, Gilbert presented himself as a consolation to many tourists who traveled around the world and were barred from seeing the wonders of Yosemite.

He led a family of five members from South Australia to South Sequoia National Park.

“You still have a chance to see the giants,” he said.

Deane Smith, who was visiting Texas, showed him a photo of her driving from the park on Friday evening.

“The fire was right in front of us,” she said.

Her family was one of the last before the road to Wao and the south was closed. According to Philippe, about 1,600 residents and visitors were displaced.

“I am so sad in Sequoia,” Smith said. “I really want them to save the Sequoia trees.”

The fire broke out at about 2:00 pm on Thursday in a grove outside the Washington suburb, says Philip. The cause is under investigation, but she said the weather was clear and there were no clear signs that the fire had started naturally.

No arrests were made until Saturday afternoon. Officials feared low humidity and high temperatures over the weekend could help drive the spread of the fire.

“We are being hit hard by our aerial resources and land resources. The next 48 hours will be crucial for us.

95% of Yosemite National Park is desert, and fire plays a natural role in the ecosystem, so the authorities immediately resort to resources instead of extinguishing the fire. The fire is unique in that it threatens Waona and Mariposa Grove, so workers are using a bulldozer to create a barrier around the community, Philippe said.

“We don’t have dozers coming in to dig in the normal line,” she says. “We don’t usually have a retardant in the park. But how important these resources are and why we are using everything we can from sunset to sunset.

The authorities hoped that a fire extinguisher ordered by Mariposa Grove would help reduce the damage. The forest is ideal for lightning strikes and deliberate native fires. The park service has tried to emulate this rule by regularly lighting fires along the forest floor, clearing brush and ladder fuels to help lift the fire to the roof and kill trees.

Studies show that landscaping treated with regular fires helps to cool wildfires, giving firefighters a better chance of winning.

“What we have experienced is that when we have an unwanted fire, when they come to the burning area, it reduces the spread and actually helps us to control it,” says Philip.

At the same time, she says, because of the tree beetle beetle in Sierra Nevada, parts of the tree still contain dense dead plants. These invasions can be even more devastating during a drought because the trees cannot produce enough juice to protect them. And last year, an explosion in the Mono Wind Grove left at least 15 seconds left on the forest floor and helping to ignite the fire.

The 78 large acres of Sequoia Groves scattered around the plot weigh only 25,000 acres, said Joanna Nelson, director of science and conservation planning at the Redwood League. The species has lived with fire for millions of years, with thick bark and branches ideal for reaching over a fire. The trees rely on low to moderate fires for breeding because they allow the cracks to open and the seeds to grow better by removing fire from the forest floor, said science director Joanna Nelson. Protection Plan Save the nonprofit Redwoods League.

However, wildfires have destroyed Sequoia residents in recent years because of federal fire isolation policies and a culture of illegal combustion, combined with the warming and drying season, making it easier to ignite and burn more fuel. She knocked.

“The fires we are seeing now are incredibly powerful and destructive and are killing large trees for the first time on record,” she said. “We have never seen such mortality through a tree ring in any recorded history.”

A.D. The blaze, which started in 2015 in the Sierra National Forest, burned seven different bushes and killed at least 100 large and mature squirrels. A.D. It was followed by a fire in Pierre Sekoya National Forest in 2017 and a train fire in the Sierra National Forest that killed about 120 people.

Three years later, a fire at the Sekoya National Forest and the huge Sekoya National Monument Palace killed an estimated 7,500 to 10,600 mature Sequoia – 10% to 14% of the world’s natural population. Then last year up to 3,630 Sekois were killed in a fire at the KenP Complex in Sekoya and King Canyon National Parks and Sekoya National Forest, an estimated 5% of the total.

“If you lose approximately 19% of the giant Sequoia in 14 months – and certainly 20% in six years – that’s because the number is not sustainable,” Nelson said. “We can’t go on like this.”

If the trend continues, she said, the trees are more likely to be found in a greenhouse or seed bank than in Sierra Nevada.

To save them, she said, is to reduce emissions by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the number of fires ordered to reduce the amount of fuel on the ground, such as fuel and fuel.

“It is important to me that these large and surprisingly large trees are found in the mountains where people walk under them,” she said.

In the meantime, another devastating fire in Yosemite was raging. Visitors to the Tanya Lodge were sprayed into the hotel pool and looked like unnatural skin from orange smoke. It was surrounded by dead and dying trees.

Rebecca Casey, an entertainer, counted the reasons on her fingers and said, “The railroad fire, the intersection fire.” “The drought. The bark beetles.

She spent four pre-displacements and two long release periods.

“It always seemed good,” she said, “until they say it’s time to leave.”

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