DEVELOPING: 500 Dead Giant Sequoias Found on California Fireground

According to today’s Mother Jones, more than 1,000 dead giant sequoias, these very very old trees, have been found within the fire lines of the Lake County wildfire, as well as two other forest fires in California during the past two weeks. This is part of a larger trend, the report claims that these deaths occur every year somewhere in California, around 100 to 200 trees per year in Yosemite National Park.

There are really only two explanations for these very ancient fires. The first is the type of fire, started by lightning or determined by their particular position. The second possibility is human-caused fires. Lightning strikes which spawn forest fires usually burn down small areas and do not pose significant threat to these ancient trees. These forest fires that are human-caused and more common are called “pineapple”-type fires. To understand what a pineapple-type fire is, look at any tree plantation, and you will notice the most heavily roped and taped areas usually go for weeks at a time. These roped-in areas are where hot winds often blow dust into the trees, sending up flames. This is very similar to the pineapple-type fire.

Acadian Resources and the Bureau of Land Management, as well as forests and state officials in California are investigating Pineapple-type fires. Pineapple-type fires, once thought to be created by lightning, may actually be directly caused by human activity. Whether these fires are human-caused or simply being caused by forest fires remains to be seen.

The fact that more dead giant sequoias have been found near the Lake County, California burn site than on the surrounding and historic sequoia monuments is alarming. These giant sequoias, the tallest trees on earth, are very old trees, and are among the oldest standing trees in North America. Sequoias, which are sometimes called “living fossils,” are considered by the US Forest Service to be of permanent environmental value and by Native Americans to be “soul trees.”

Once the Lake County fire was finally contained, the US Forest Service announced that 558 unique trees and 3,800 sequoias were killed in the wildfire and more than two-thirds of these were dead. The military has been deployed to assist in removing the dead trees from the western shoreline of Clear Lake, which had become a dumping ground for the dead trees.

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