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General Sherman Tree with fire-proof blankets in Sequoia National Park, California/ Image AFP


Homechevron_rightSciencechevron_rightWorld's largest tree...

World's largest tree gets a fire-resistant blanket to shield from wildfire

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Firefighters in California have wrapped the world's largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket to protect it from the wildfires of Sierra Nevada. The Giant Forest is a grove of 2000 sequoias, and the fire was expected to reach them on Thursday.

The gigantic old-growth sequoias and the colossal General Sherman tree in Sequoia national park's giant forest are being protected from the possibility of intense flames that could destroy them. The Giant Forest Museum and other buildings also received the same protection, reported The Guardian.

The National Park Service data shows that the General Sherman Tree is the largest globally by volume, at 1,487 cubic meters. It is 84 meters high and has a circumference of 31 meters at ground level.

Over the years, giant sequoias trees have adapted to fire and use the heat to release seeds from their cones. The fire also clears the area and creates the space younger sequoias need to grow. However, the intensity of fire fuelled by recent climate change has been overwhelming the trees.

The Castle fire killed 7,500 to 10,600 large sequoias in 2020. Some of them are as tall as high-rises and thousands of years old.

Fire spokesperson Rebecca Paterson said that the method of using prescribed burns to remove vegetation in the park was expected to help the giant trees survive by reducing the fire's chance to reach them. She added that the department hopes that the Giant Forest will emerge from the risk unscathed, reported The Guardian.

Federal officials have been using the aluminum wrappings to protect the sensitive structures in the US west. The material can withstand intense heat for short periods.

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TAGS:wildfire crisis Environment threat General Sherman Tree 
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