Story at a glance
- A giant sequoia tree was found still smoldering from previous wildfires in Sequoia National Forest.
- The tree initially began to burn during last August’s Castle fire in California.
- A lightning strike sparked the wildfire in the Sequoia National Forest that spread over 150,000 acres.
Months after wildfires raged in California’s Sequoia National Forest beginning last August, one giant sequoia was discovered still smoldering this week.
The sequoia was spotted by a researcher with Sequoia’s fire ecology and research team who spotted smoke coming from a ravine. The team used a long lens to pinpoint the tree, which stands in the middle of the burn area from last August’s Castle fire.
A lightning strike in the Sequoia National Forest sparked the Castle fire last year, which reached “General Sherman,” the largest tree on Earth, and burned 150,000 acres before fire departments were able to contain the wildfire near the end of December.
Embers inside the tree withstood months of rain and snow over this past winter.
“The fact areas are still smoldering and smoking from the 2020 Castle fire demonstrates how dry the park is,” said Leif Mathiesen, Sequoia and Kings Canyon’s assistant fire management officer. “With the low amount of snowfall and rain this year, there may be additional discoveries as spring transitions into summer.”
The 2020 fire season was the West Coast’s worst in recent history, with California experiencing its largest fires ever reported. Fire season is now two to three months longer than it was a few decades ago.
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