An enormous tree has been found still smoldering and emitting smoke in California’s Sequoia National Park, months after historic wildfires devastated the region last August.
Officials discovered the tree, located in the Board Camp Grove, while surveying different areas of the park to determine the effects of the 2020 Castle Fire.
The Castle Fire, which was sparked by a lightning bolt last summer, burned down more than 270 square miles of land before it was contained in December.
Unusual or not?
Photos of the tree show it spouting small plumes of smoke in the middle of a brown and blackened forest. Researchers say they discovered embers still burning inside the tree, which appear to have stayed there despite rain and snowfall in the winter.
But this persistent burning isn’t unusual. Mike Theune, fire information officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks explained that the inside of a tree can act like a wood-burning stove, feeding the fire enough oxygen for it to survive for long periods of time.
Related article: Zombie fires burning under snow in Russia
Theune added it was important to remember that many of the sequoias – the largest tree in the world in volume with an immense trunk – in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains had survived millennia of extreme weather, forest fires, and droughts.
“The fact areas are still smoldering and smoking from the 2020 Castle Fire demonstrates how dry the park is,” said Leif Mathiesen, the assistant fire management officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks, according to the Guardian. “With the low amount of snowfall and rain this year, there may be additional discoveries as spring transitions into summer.”
Firefighters were battling nearly 100 major blazes across the West Coast last summer. Climate scientists have warned that these giant blazes will only become more frequent as the planet dries up. [NPS]
State officials are warning that this year could be the worst wildfire season California has ever seen after a dry winter and spring. Several fires are already torching Nevada, Utah, California and Florida.
With California wildfire activity already up 700%, authorities urge homeowners to prepare their home…
First step: Get a fire extinguisher…
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