Monday, June 04, 2012

1,000 Acre Fire Hits Sequoia National Monument

The headline is somewhat misleading.
Fire Threatens Grove of Giant Sequoia
The blaze in the Sequoia National Forest covered more than 1,000 acres by Monday morning.
Yes, there's a fire, but fire is integral to propagating sequois and clearing out deadwood and underbrush. It's not exactly a bad thing. This particular fire is away from the roads and is in the backcountry of the park. It's a part of the park we never had the chance to see when we were there last year.

Protecting human-made structures is important, but fire has to be part of the environment, particularly in the national parks to maintain the ecology. In fact, the National Park Service has essentially indicated that fire suppression within the confines of various national parks, including Sequoia and Kings Canyon has made protecting the very trees that give the park its name all the more difficult.

Fire suppression had eliminated one of the key factors in propagating the trees - it requires fire to set the pine cones and release the nutrients stored within the forest floor all while eliminating lower-tier trees that block the sequoias from getting enough sun.

All throughout Sequoia and neighboring Kings Canyon National Park, one sees the results of fire - the sequoias themselves are quite resistant to fire - trees that are scarred and even cored by fire are still standing and growing around the damage.

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