At 83,8 meters tall and almost 11 m in base diameter, the sequoia known as General Sherman is considered the largest tree in the world. Located in Sequoias National Park, in California, USA, she gained special protection from the authorities this week, being shrouded in aluminum paper of ultra-resistance.
This measure is part of efforts to preserve the tree, which is estimated to be over 2,5 years old, making a kind of shield against the flames of forest fires moving through the dry west of the country.
Not only General Sherman, but other millenary redwoods in the forest reserve are receiving this fireproof cover, one of the strategies of firefighters who are working in the most threatened places.
They also cleared the area and placed machines among the park's 2 trees, according to the authorities responsible for the operation.
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“They are taking extraordinary measures to protect these two to three thousand year old trees. We want them to do everything possible to protect them,” said Christy Brigham, a spokeswoman for the park, to the local newspaper The Mercury News.
Thousands of square kilometers of California forests, some 3,8 hectares in area, have already been charred during this year's fire season.
Fire that hit a reserve where the world's largest tree is located started with lightning
The initial fire is believed to have been caused by a raio that hit the park on September 9, causing the doors to be closed to visitors and mobilizing more than 500 officers to contain the fire.
All this hard effort to protect these redwoods is also due to the fact that many of them have already been heavily hit by fire in recent years. “Two-thirds of the entire grove of giant sequoias that make up the Sierra Nevada burned in forest fires between 2015 and 2020,” says Brigham.
According to a CNN report, although redwoods as young as 16 years old were killed during Castle Fire last year, authorities seem optimistic. A minimal increase in the fire was identified on Thursday (XNUMX), despite some activity having intensified in the late afternoon, with the increase in temperature and the drop in humidity levels.
And while giant redwoods adapt to periodic fire, their thick bark generally protects them from significant damage and can insulate them from heat. Over time, however, it can be difficult for trees to heal from centuries of scarring from fire.
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