It burned in a grove of giant sequoia trees, some 3,000 years old
9:11am PDT Jul 10, 2022
With very little wind on Saturday, the Washburn fire continued to spread in and next to the Mariposa grove of giant sequoia trees in California’s Yosemite National Park. Despite the relatively mild weather conditions, fires occur hundreds of meters in front of the leading edge. Growth in the orchard was limited by the previously described fires that reduced the amount of fuel on the ground, and by the efforts of firefighters. Some trees are about 3000 years old.
While the massive and very old trees are fire-adapted, they are unprepared for human-caused climate change and the current “exceptional drought” conditions that lower the soil and replenish moisture. Monster trees are more susceptible to current weather and fuel conditions. It only grows in about 70 orchards located on the western slopes of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. They are the largest trees on Earth by volume.
The Friday night blaze is set on 1,591 acres. Nearly 300 acres in Mariposa Grove of giant sequoia, on the western and northern sides.
Smoke at times on Saturday worsened visibility to the point where planes dropping dampers were grounded. Most of the fire action was at the north end as it works its way down the slope to the south fork of the Merced River, which is also the southern edge of the South Fork Fire that burned 7,563 acres in 2017. The footprint from this 5-year-old fire scar wouldn’t stop the fire from its own, but there will be less resistance to control as it diffuses through the lighter fuel.
Washburn Fire burns in high load coniferous waste with heavy element dead and down as well as many dead perennial trees.
There was very little wind on the fire Saturday and no wind overnight at Fish Camp, south of the fire and at 1,000 feet where minimum humidity on Saturday was 31 percent, but rose to 83 percent by 7:31 a.m. Sunday. The weather is expected to be much warmer and drier in the next few days.
The weather forecast for the fire area on Sunday says about 80 degrees Celsius, 26 percent relative humidity, and ridgetop winds from the west at 5 mph to 12 mph in the afternoon. On a Sunday night, winds should bring 66 degrees, 33 percent relative humidity, 5 to 10 miles per hour northwest in the evening, turning east after 9 p.m. Monday, 83 degrees, 20 percent relative humidity, and 5 to 10 miles per hour from the southeast and turning to the southwest. By 11 am
Prepare for fire: The Grizzly Giant is the most famous giant sequoia in Yosemite National Park. At 209 feet tall it is the second largest tree in Yosemite and one of the most photographed. pic.twitter.com/jnIlm9Gemn
– Yosemite Fire and Aviation Management (YosemiteFire) 10 July 2022