Slow burner: Giant sequoia more than 250ft tall is STILL smoldering from California’s Castle Fire nine months ago

  • Officials spotted a tree still smoldering and smoking from the 2020 Castle Fire
  • The tree is in Sequoia National Park, but is isolated and presents no danger
  • The sequoia is still burning due to a lack of snowfall and rain this year
  • California is currently in a major drought that could mean more fires this year 

A giant sequoia 250-foot tall is still smoldering and smoking in Sequoia National Park that was burned during one of California’s catastrophic wildfires last year. 

Fire management says the tree is still exhibiting the effects of the 2020 Castle Fire due to low snowfall and rain this year.

The fire was sparked from a lightning strike on on August 19, 2020, which then grew and spread throughout the region – burning an estimated 270 square miles (700 square kilometers) of forest as of December.

The burning sequoia, which is 13 feet in diameter, is isolated and does not present a danger to its environment or park visitors, according to the park service. 

‘It’s not uncommon for us to see small area still smoldering / smoking after such an intense wildfire,’ Mike Theune, Fire Information Officer, told DailyMail.com in an email.

‘For example, fires that get into root systems of trees can burn for months longer and may not be seen until the next spring / summer when conditions warm up and it gets drier. 

‘But to have a giant sequoia tree doing this demonstrates the challenges these trees are facing.’

The challenges, in which Theune refers to, are the trees abilities to collect enough water or recover from the destructive fire due to drought that has been plaguing California. 

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 A giant sequoia is still smoldering and smoking in a part of Sequoia National Park that burned during one of California’s catastrophic wildfires last year. Smoke can be seen rising from the ground miles away from the sequoia’s location

The smoldering tree was uncovered by scientists and fire crews surveying the effects of the blaze.

The burning sequoia sits within any firelines and is far way from trails used by the public. 

‘In terms of when it will go out, it’s hard to say. But at some point, it will run out of burnable fuel,’ Theune.

‘It is located in the Board Camp Grove and there is no direct access via any trail system.

‘However, it may be still visible from the Ladybug Trail which leaves east bound from the South Fork Campground at the southern end of Sequoia National Park.’

Fire management say the tree is still exhibiting the effects of the 2020 Castle Fire, which began on August 19, 2020, due to low snowfall and rain this year 

The fire was sparked from a lightning strike grew and spread throughout the region, burning an estimated 270 square miles (700 square kilometers) of forest as of December 

California is typically glowing with new bright green growth by April, but areas are currently covered with dead vegetation due to a ‘disappointing’ wet season that leaves the state vulnerable to wildfires.

The Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center sampled flammable shrubs found throughout California and found record low moisture values.

The average fuel-moisture content (FMC) for some regions is 137 percent, but this year experts calculated a shocking low of 97 percent in some parts of California.

The dryness could set the stage for a repeat of last year, when wildfires, many of them ignited by thousands of dry lightning strikes, burned a record 6,562 square miles (16,996 square kilometers) in the nation’s most populated state.

California is typically glowing with new bright green growth by April, but areas are currently covered with dead vegetation due to a ‘disappointing’ wet season that leaves the state vulnerable to wildfires

With drought conditions dire across the American West, AccuWeather predicted an above-average 2021 wildfire season in a forecast released Wednesday.

According to AccuWeather senior meteorologist Dave Samuhel, fires are projected to burn 14,844 square miles (38,445 square kilometers) of land across the Western U.S.

‘Unfortunately, in a nutshell, it looks like it´s going to be another busy season,’ he said in a statement. ‘We´re seeing a lot of drought. Almost half of the country is experiencing drought, and the bulk of that is to the West.’

A possible exception could be Southern California, where lack of rain has stunted spring growth that would eventually dry out and can become fuel for fires.

‘Since it was a dry winter there, that means there wasn´t a lot of new grass that grew,’ Samuhel said. ‘So that could reduce the wildfire threat a little bit, at least in that area.’

In Sequoia National Park, officials said the burning giant sequoia is well within fire lines and there are no threats to life or property. The tree is in the Board Camp Grove, and there is no direct access via any trail system.

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