• We're a fun, friendly, and diverse group of planners, placemakers, students, and other folks who found their people here. Create your FREE Cyburbia ID, and join us today! Use your email address, or register through your Reddit, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or Microsoft account.

Fire Threatens Giant Sequoias

nerudite

Cyburbian
Messages
6,544
Points
29
I just read this article, and I was wondering if anyone is familiar with Sequoias... I remember when I was a kid we used to go camping at Sequoia Nat'l Park a lot (and Kings Canyon, Balch Park, Yosemite, and other places with Sequoias). If I remember correctly, Sequoia pinecones, like the seeds of other vegetation in the Sierras, are only able to open and germinate upon being heated by fire. I remember reading the informational signs along the various park trailheads stating that fire was good for the overall health of Sequioa forests. However, all I have been reading is how much damage the fire will do, and not the overall benefits... Just wondering if anyone who knows about Sequoias and forest management could enlighten me a bit. Thanks!
 

Bullwinkle

Cyburbian
Messages
176
Points
7
I'm no expert, but I think the concern is that the fire will 'crown' or move from tree to tree in the upper branches. You're right that sequoias - and lodgepole pine and several other species - are well adapted to forest fires. The problem is that fuel loads have built up to the point that we aren't talking about a 'normal' pattern of relatively low intensity fires every couple of years, but very hot, very large fires infrequently.

I spent a week in and around Sequoia National Park two summers ago. The groves of large sequoias have very little underbrush or other fuel, but I remember that a lot of the surrounding forest was pretty dense.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
I have a giant sequoia in my office. It does not look like it could survive even a small fire.

I spent some time with these trees last January. I think Bullwinkle is right. A small fire scurrying across the ground will thin out the underbrush, but not harm the this bark of the giants. A fire in the upper levels of the forest will kill the growing branches of the trees.
 
Top