Speed Reads

still standing

Firefighters 'working really hard' to keep flames away from California's famous General Sherman sequoia

Hundreds of firefighters are battling the KNP Complex Fire burning in the Sequoia National Park, keeping the flames away from the famed General Sherman tree.

The giant sequoia is 275 feet tall, more than 2,000 years old, and the world's largest tree by volume. Sprinklers have been running nonstop to keep the area around the General Sherman wet, fire officials said, and firefighters protected the General Sherman and other massive sequoias by covering them with an aluminum foil-like material and clearing vegetation from their bases, the Los Angeles Times reports.

As of Sunday, the KNP Complex Fire — the result of the Colony and Paradise fires merging — has burned 21,777 acres, after growing overnight by more than 3,000 acres. The well-maintained walking trails in the Giant Forest have helped firefighters in their efforts to battle the blaze, and while there are concerns about gusty winds coming into the area, Jon Wallace, operations section chief for the KNP Complex Fire, said on Sunday things are going "really well," with crews "really working hard up in there to contain that fire." 

Giant sequoias have adapted to fire, as it helps release seeds from their cones. However, experts warn that because of climate change, fires are becoming more intense, and that's damaging to the trees. "Once you get burning inside the tree, that will result in mortality," Wallace said.