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Three Rivers, California, was put under evacuation warning Sunday by the Castle Fire, part of the Sequoia Complex Fire in the Sequoia National Forest in Tulare County. The 2020 Castle fire, Stephenson said, is probably worse than 1297. The number of firefighting personnel working the fire has been reduced to 289. The remains of 50- to 70-year-old conifers stand in the Sequoia National Forest. People don’t just complain to him, La Price said. But the well heeled environmentalist is a well paid pawn. Billions of dollars spent on fighting California wildfires, but little on prevention, The state’s focus on fighting fires has some experts asking, “Does California need a new agency to focus on wildfire prevention?”, Changes caused by worsening wildfires in California forests will last centuries. Although giant sequoia need fire,  these groves were generally in a heavily fuel-loaded state prior to these recent fires, leading to high severity and loss of ancient monarchs. The big exception to that pattern was 1297, a year that stands out in the sequoia tree-ring record as a time of high-severity fire. The Rattlesnake Fire in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon Wilderness has merged with the Sequoia Complex on the west side of the Kern River near the Golden Trout junction. But, as shown in the map and outlined in the table, the preliminary fire severity data suggest that roughly 40% of the burned areas within the sequoia groves burned at high-severity, which means there will be potentially very large losses of ancient giant sequoia in this one fire. In addition to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks’ full park closures, park managers have implemented a designated wilderness closure in response to the Rattlesnake Fire. 1 priority is public and employee safety. And then there’s the public’s dislike of smoke from controlled burns. In contrast, high-severity fire that consumes nearly everything in its path is too hot for giant sequoia to survive. And in a few years, our effect on the planet has caused this kind of superfire. At times they flared into small, high-intensity burns that created openings for a new generation of sequoias to take hold. When big sequoias die in a wildfire, it is usually because heat has scorched all their needles. “To see those giant sequoia, monarch, blackened toothpicks was a gut punch,” Brigham recalled. Let’s get back to common sense. Within two of the modeled groves (See table above, SQ05 and SQ15), potential erosion rates were higher than the overall average erosion rates across the fire . Update. The fire will threaten the community of Springville, Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, as well as structures scattered along the west slopes." Sequoia National Park, home to its giant namesake trees, is threatened by the Castle Fire, part of the SQF Complex of fires ignited by lightning in the Sierra National Forest. Becky Bremser, director of land protection for the Save the Redwoods League, walks through the base of the 3,000-year-old Stagg tree. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) The Associated Press Using satellite data tracking images both pre-fire and post-fire, we were able to get preliminary figures for fire severity in the giant sequoia groves that burned in this fire. Post-fire hillslope erosion potential within the Sequoia Groves ranges from 13 to 49 tons/acre/year. “That has really shaken me up and shaken others up into thinking we have to do a much better job of protecting these groves.”. California sues to recover costs for Exide lead cleanup, but community still wants justice. Char marks in the tree-ring corings of ancient sequoias show that before the arrival of settlers in the mid-1800s and the government’s 20th century anti-wildfire policies, low- to moderate-intensity fires ignited by lightning and Native Americans skipped through the groves every 10 to 30 years. Both Yosemite and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks have restored several groves using prescribed fire and some mechanical thinning, but most of the groves in the range still need restoration to be fire resilient in the warming climate. “At that point, we started to think it could get into some of our sequoia groves,” Brigham said. Sequoia cones are unique in that they are living, chlorophyll-producing ‘organs’ of their tree. With heavy fuel loads as a result of fire exclusion and the warming climate, severe fires that kill giant sequoia have dramatically increased in the last five years. Sequoia National Park announces full closure Do we want fire that is healthy and restorative in our ecosystems, or what we had this year?”. “This creates hazardous conditions for … Sequoia National Forest has 33 groves total within its boundaries. A firefighter keeps watch as flames advance along the Western Divide Highway during the SQF Complex Fire on September 14, 2020 near Camp Nelson, California. Will someone somewhere and at some time finally stop repeating the lie that sequoia cones need fire to open… It’s simply not true. There were more bleak scenes elsewhere. Despite cooler temperatures, hot spots continue to smolder and burn through dry vegetation. A century of fire suppression, the 2012-16 drought and rising temperatures have combined to produce more intense fires that are taking an alarming toll on the copper-hued behemoths. Gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The August Complex Fire burns near Lake Pillsbury in the Mendocino National Forest, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. One of the monster wildfires birthed by California’s August lightning blitz, the Castle fire burned through portions of roughly 20 giant sequoia groves on the western slopes of the Sierra, the only place on the planet they naturally grow. Giant sequoia are not only fire resilient, they are fire dependent for their regeneration, but fire exclusion has dramatically reduced their fire resilience. Years after pledging action, California regulators have filed suit against companies connected to the contaminated Exide Technologies plant in Vernon. Moraine Fire - south-central Kings Canyon National Park You can narrow the view, by selecting California from the drop down menu in the upper right corner of the page. Although significant seedling regeneration may still occur—since the cones need heat to open—the ancient trees that are killed in this type of fire are irreplaceable. He cites two main causes: climate change, which exacerbates fire conditions, and the banishment of regular flame, which has left Sierra forests denser than they were pre-settlement. As we have noted before, the SQF Complex Fire (also known as the Castle Fire), has had a profound impact on the giant sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada. fire has reached some of california’s famed sequoia trees –among the oldest trees on earth, some dating back as much as 2,500 years and up to 300 ft. tall–and western fire woes extend far beyond the golden state across sections of 12 neighboring states….we’re soon to see the smoke here in chicago and the midwest as well…. Firefighters attempted to halt the advance of the massive Seqouia Complex Fire Monday as it approached the rural mountain communities of Alpine Village, Sequoia Crest, and Doyle Springs. Caprio had marked it with little red dots: They were giants whose entire crowns had been incinerated. But they could not survive the Castle fire, which swept into the Alder Creek Grove in the early hours of Sept. 13. We will refine these numbers as the smoke in the area settles. Using satellite data tracking images both pre-fire and post-fire, we were able to get preliminary figures for fire severity in the giant sequoia groves that burned in this fire. Brush fire in San Diego County prompts evacuations in Fallbrook and Camp Pendleton. Kristen Shive, science director for the Save the Redwoods League, stands in the Alder Creek Grove, where some sequoias didn’t survive California’s Castle fire. Castle Fire and the sequoia groves in its path. In contrast, high-severity fire that consumes nearly everything in its path is too hot for giant sequoia to survive. January 23, 2020. Some areas burned at low to moderate fire severity (green and orange colors on the map), and in these areas the fire likely had some restorative effects. Forest officials say controlled burns could help stave off widespread destruction of giant sequoias. I was not ready to see so much red, so much high severity burn. Fire personnel in the Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are now managing the 174,178-acre SQF Complex. Our tax identification number is 94-0843915. Money is not the only problem. The forest doesn’t have the money or the staff. “We need to decide what kind of fire we want. She has nearly 20 years of experience in forest and fire management, as well as fire ecology research. The northern edge of the fire could begin to impact Sequoia National Park. The 2020 Castle Fire burned an estimated 13,600 acres in 10 giant sequoia groves that are located within the Giant Sequoia National Monument of the Sequoia National Forest. On the other side, where no prescribed burning had occurred, the fire killed more than 15 big sequoias. How? Although significant seedling regeneration may still occur—since the cones need heat to open—the ancient trees that are killed in this type of fire are irreplaceable. Old sequoias can survive even if just 5% of their crowns remain green and unscorched by a fire’s heat. ... Scientists say drought, fire damage and beetle infestations are to blame. There’s little market for the smaller trees in most need of thinning. “Imagine if we had $107 million to do reforestation, thinning and prescribed fire,” he said wistfully. I was not overly concerned.”. A Haines Index of 6 is predicted for today. This is likely due to the soil burn severity within the Sequoia Groves overall . The charred corpse of a giant sequoia poked into the smoky haze. The western edge of the fire is approximately five miles east of Sequoia Crest. As of mid-October, about 16,563 acres have burned in the giant sequoia range (roughly 34 percent of the range), most of which is old growth. California’s worst wildfire season on record has already altered the state’s iconic forests in ways that will be seen for centuries to come. I think it’s unacceptable,” said Shive, a former fire ecologist with the National Park Service. In Sequoia Crest, Calif., a small vacation-home community, chimneys and foundations are all that remain of about a third of its 104 houses. Occasionally a monarch died. About 19,000 acres are in the southern edge of Sequoia National Park, which abuts the monument. In the last five years, 65% of the range has burned – 33% of it in 2020 alone. Fire-resilient giant sequoia are likely to survive a low-to moderate-severity fire, which could really be largely restorative by reducing fuels and tree density. Near the Stagg, the Castle fire did a bit of forest housekeeping, burning undergrowth, young white fir trees and incense cedars. "Our No. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. Remote-sensing satellite images indicate that much of the league’s Alder Creek land didn’t burn in the Castle fire or experienced light fire that will do some ecological good. He noted the more than $100 million it has cost the government to fight the Castle fire. 2020 has been a record fire year not only for California, but for its impacts on giant sequoia as well. Fire personnel entered the structure and located fire in a water heater utility room. Some areas burned at low to moderate fire severity (green and orange colors on the map), and in these areas the fire likely had some restorative effects. Regards, Fred M. Cain, Topeka, IN (Member). On the side of the trail where the park had conducted controlled burns, one giant died in the Rough fire. All around it were black sticks, the ruins of 50- to 70-year-old conifers that Powell guessed had grown in after an old logging operation. Then he ticked off the reasons why they didn’t. Sequoia cones can also die and dry up on the tree itself; there is a burrowing insect that chews through the soft green cones, killing them and opening them up to seeding out. As evidence of how that helps, he described a trail in Kings Canyon park that runs through a portion of the Grant Grove that burned five years ago in the Rough fire. This was different. Sequoia National Forest fire grows to 34,000-plus acres, with evacuations still active By Larry Valenzuela. But even as this is a story of loss, I still feel hope for the sequoia, because we know what we need to do to ensure that these ancient giants persist on the landscape. Sequoia cones don’t need fire to open up, they just need to be separated from their host. ADVERTISEMENT Burning since Aug. 19, the complex has scorched nearly 192 square miles (497 square kilometers) of forest and was just 12% contained on Thursday. The Castle Fire is now burning in the Freeman Creek Grove (9/8/2020). Shive spent much of the day on the phone, gathering information about fire behavior and studying maps. That notion began to fade as she heard more about the Castle fire’s erratic behavior. It was during the Medieval Warm Period, an era of hotter temperatures in some parts of the world, including the Sierra. It needs to be separated from its host, by a squirrel or by strong wind, for it to dry up, open up, and release its seeds. In early September, the Castle fire made some major runs toward the parks. A wildfire erupted late Wednesday night near the northern San Diego County community of Fallbrook and spread to the Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base. Sequoia Complex Fire Update 9 14, 2020. Geoengineering uses toxic flammable chemicals to control the weather, and god knows what else. Despite cooler temperatures, hot spots continue to smolder and burn through dry vegetation. Shive had been watching the growth of the Castle fire since it started Aug. 19 with a lightning strike on the edge of the Golden Trout Wilderness in the Sequoia National Forest. She knew the Castle fire had burned extremely hot in places and figured they’d lost some monarchs. Latest: California’s Sequoia National Park closes over fire The August Complex Fire burns near Lake Pillsbury in the Mendocino National Forest, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. According to CalFire data, roughly 25% of the range burned in wildfires between 1910-2015. We need to restore more “good fire” so that the ancient trees, the oldest of which had survived hundreds of wildfires prior to fire exclusion. Finally, this last high intensity fire in the Sequoia Monument burned so hot that some sequoia trees exploded, presumably when the water they contained vaporized from the heat. At a Glance. All gifts to our Redwood Parks Fund matched up to $250k, Get the latest redwood updates in your inbox, Press enter to toggle Secondary Navigation, Update on 2020 wildfire in the giant sequoia range, The larger issue is fire severity. “It’s both,” he said. The August Complex Fire burns near Lake Pillsbury in the Mendocino National Forest, Calif., on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. Fire-resilient sequoia ‘monarchs’ no match for 2020 11/20/2020 10:31 am ET • Nathan Kauffman A massive giant sequoia is still burning in Alder Creek Grove, on Nov. 19. The Castle Fire in October 2020 burned hundreds of Sequoias in the privately owned Alder Creek grove that NGO Save the Redwoods League purchased less than a … All-consuming flame had turned the giants into sequoia skeletons. But they had never gotten to the relatively remote park groves that burned the hottest in the Castle fire — Homers Nose, Board Camp and Cedar Flat. This lightning-caused Castle and Shotgun Fires were discovered on August 19, 2020, and later managed as one incident named the SQF Complex. Black oaks will re-sprout, but with no surviving green conifers to drop seeds, he predicted the slope would turn into shrub fields. They call up their congressional offices, which then tell the forest: Don’t let the burns go on too long. One giant was decapitated, the upper trunk and branches strewn at its base in a tangled heap. We will refine these numbers as the smoke in the area settles. Suzanne Moss, left, campaign director for the Save the Redwoods League, and Becky Bremser, director of land protection, look at some of the giant sequoias killed by wildfire. September 8, 2020. Sequoia Complex ( #sqfcomplex) – September 12, 2020. One of those good burns was in the vicinity of the grove’s star, the 3,000-year-old Stagg tree, the fifth-largest giant sequoia on record. These fires are raising an alarm bell. Eric La Price, the Sequoia National Forest’s Western Divide District ranger, surveys damage in the Camp Nelson area, which was not as severely burned by the Castle fire. What really blows my mind is that it has been known for quite some time that fuel loads desperately needed to be reduced in these forests. Save the Redwoods League is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization. “I suspect we’re going to have a lot of regeneration,” she said. September 15, 2020. People living in the Sierra often complain of smoke from the burns, but one way or another, there will be smoke in the mountains. Thank you, Save The Redwoods. Becky Bremser, director of land protection for the Save the Redwoods League, photographs a giant sequoia that was decapitated. Forest officials have extended the closure of Sequoia National Forest managed land near the Castle Fire through December 31, 2020. Kristen joined the League’s staff in 2018 as a Senior Scientist and now serves as Director of Science. And quit using microwave haarp. The problem is that the wildfires chewing through sequoia groves these days are not the kind that the long-lived giants evolved with. Fire-resilient giant sequoia are likely to survive a low-to m. oderate-severity fire, which could really be largely restorative by reducing fuels and tree density. Control burns Stop straying Gates funded sky dimming chemicals. The Castle fire was different from previous wildfires as all-consuming flames turned the giant trees into sequoia skeletons. The towering trees had grown on this Sierra Nevada ridge top for well over 500 years. When big sequoias die in a wildfire, it is usually because heat has scorched all their needles, which are still on the tree. 2020 has been a record fire year not only for California, but for its impacts on giant sequoia as well. George Powell, left, Sequoia National Forest ecosystem manager, and Eric La Price, the forest’s Western Divide District ranger, walk through the fire-ravaged mountainside in the McIntyre Grove. A cone will stay, unopened, on a branch of a sequoia tree for up to fourteen years. Brigham has known since she arrived in Sequoia-Kings Canyon five years ago that the parks’ average of 1,000 acres a year of controlled burns is not enough. According to Firefighters, the Bush Tree has been burned around with very little damage. The estimated full containment date is still November 20. Becky Bremser, left, director of land protection for the Save the Redwoods League, and campaign director Suzanne Moss look at cones of a sequoia. The thumping of a lone helicopter overhead broke the eerie quiet. The Fire is burning into the Grove as a ground fire with moderate intensity and slower rates of spread. But even as this is a story of loss, I still feel hope for the sequoia, because we know what we need to do to ensure that these ancient giants persist on the landscape. Seventy feet of black trunk traced the path of flame on a younger sequoia, but “I don’t think it will even notice,” Shive said. The sunset is obscured by smoke in late October near the Alder Creek Grove, where giant sequoia trees have grown for centuries. Eric La Price and George Powell turned off Highway 190 and parked on a dirt road. At another spot in the grove, Shive pointed to little sequoia seeds that newly opened cones had showered on the ash-coated ground. “We have a lot of lightning fires. With heavy fuel loads as a result of fire exclusion and the warming climate, severe fires that kill giant sequoia have dramatically increased in the last five years. “To us, this is atypical that we’d have areas that burned so severely and were so large in size,” said Powell, the Sequoia National Forest ecosystem manager. She stopped at 13 — the number of giant sequoias she spotted with charred trunks, scorched crowns and broken limbs. I know nothing is forever, but they stood for thousands of years, those mammoths, and they grew from seeds that came from standing trees who know how old they were. ***Please note – the maps are dated 9/11/20, an infrared flight was not flown last night and we do not have maps for 9/12/20.***. “More and more fire is going to happen on the landscape,” Shive said. Power shutoffs hit Southern California amid red flag warnings. They are armored with thick bark. In Sequoia Crest, a small vacation-home community developed in the grove in the 1960s, chimneys and foundations are all that remain of about a third of its 104 houses. The league estimates that on its property alone, the Castle fire killed at least 80 monarchs, ranging in age from 500 years old to well over 1,000 years old. I’ve been anticipating this report and hoping it would not be bad, but this is bad. 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