Up to one-fifth of giant sequoias possibly lost in recent California wildfires

Wildfires in California have contributed to the burning of up to one-fifth of the world's giant sequoia trees.

The National Park Service announced the damages, particularly those caused by three recent fires. 

Their report said that the KNP Complex fire and the Windy fire accounted for an estimated 3 to 5 percent of losses for the entire Sierra Nevada sequoia population. Those trees are now expected to die in the next three to five years if they had not already been killed.

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These damages are in addition to the 2020 Castle fire which caused a loss of 10 to 14 percent of the entire Sierra Nevada population of sequoia trees.

Of sequoias over four feet in diameter, the KNP Complex fire and the Windy fire killed or damaged 2,261 to 3,637 trees, impacting 27 groves overall. The species only resides in about 70 groves in the western part of the Sierra Nevada range, according to the National Park Service.  

Last month, the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks said they would need to remove roughly 10,000 sequoia trees from the area in California as a result of age, drought, disease, wildfires or a combination of these factors.

Despite firefighters efforts to save the trees by wrapping their bases' in fire-resistant material, putting fire retardant gel on the trees and clearing vegetation, officials had said that hundreds of trees may have been killed in the fires. They noted that it could take months to see the extent of the damages.