Climate Action

The world's largest tree is under threat from wildfires. Here's how firefighters are protecting it

Smoke from a fire is seen through the trees of The Lost Grove in the Sequoia National Forest in California, U.S.

With wildfires ravaging the area, firefighters are racing to protect the Sequoia National Forest's biggest trees. Image: REUTERS/Fred Greaves

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  • With California's wildfires raging, 'General Sherman' is being wrapped in tinfoil by firefighters to help protect the Sequoia National park's greatest asset.
  • General Sherman is estimated to be about 2,500 years old at 275 feet tall, the BBC reports.
  • A wildfire last year killed about 10,000 sequoia trees, some thousands of years old. Now the Colony fire is threatening 2,000 more.

Sequoia Safety

Massive wildfires in California are forcing firefighters to wrap massive sequoia trees in fire-resistant blankets, including General Sherman, a 275-foot specimen that is believed to be the world’s largest tree by volume.


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It’s a climate change-driven disaster endangering some of the oldest and biggest living trees on our planet. General Sherman is estimated to be about 2,500 years old, the BBC reports. Tragic images shared online by the National Park Service show the base of the gigantic trunk wrapped in tinfoil-like blankets.


Tinfoil Wrap

More than 350 firefighters were battling two fires stretching over parts of Sequoia National park.

“It’s a very significant area for many, many people, so a lot of special effort is going into protecting this grove,” Rebecca Paterson, a spokeswoman for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, told the LA Times.

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Some of the massive trees “are being prepped the same way that we would prep structures,” Patterson added.

Beyond wrapping the trees in aluminum blankets, nearby vegetation was also cleared to make sure the fire didn’t spread.

The blankets are made out of the same material that is used to wrap homes in wildfire-endangered areas, and used by firefighters as a last resort in case they ever find themselves surrounded by fire, according to the LA Times.

It’s a sad state of affairs. It would be a national travesty of our own making if we lost one of the largest trees in the world to record-breaking wildfires.

a chart showing how many aces of woodland wildfires have burned
Wildfires in the US have burned 68 million acres in a decade. Image: Statista
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