Saving The Sequoias from Raging Wildfires


Climate change has led to intense heat waves, record droughts, and more natural disasters. This has made wildfires more common over the past few years and one of the greatest victims of such wildfires is the Giant Sequoias in California. If trees on your property have been damaged, you can search for “tree service near me” and hire pros to repair them. Let’s figure out how the US government saves the Sequoias from raging wildfires. 

The Process

  1. Giant Sequoia Groves – Giant Sequoia groves grow on certain western slopes and the Sierra Nevada in California has a lot of them. They grow around 4000 to 8000 feet tall, way larger than the tallest building in the world, and reach that height over hundreds of years. These groves are thousands of years old, and each grove may contain anywhere from one to tens of thousands of trees. 

These giant trees are a sight to behold and when you stand in front of them with sunlight filtering through their lofty branches, you feel a sense of wonder and peace. They also have a very important role in the local ecosystem and benefit local wildlife. Moreover, they help fight climate change with their lush foliage and help to keep a lot of carbon emissions away from the air. That’s why it’s alarming when these trees are threatened by raging wildfires.     

  1. Emergency action to save sequoias – When the wildfires were raging, the US Forest Service announced that it was going to take emergency actions to save the trees. The move consisted of quick approvals and bypassing some environmental reviews to cut down small trees in the national forests. After that, the areas were intentionally lit with low-intensity fires to eliminate dense bushes that help fuel those raging wildfires. 

Wildfires fueled by those dense bushes have killed around 20 percent of large sequoias over the past couple of years. According to Forest Service Chief Randy Moore, this kind of emergency action was necessary to cut down fuels before a wildfire breaks out. It helps reduce the risks of high-severity wildfires.  

  1. Suppression of wildfires has worsened the risks – The giant sequoias wouldn’t be so alarmingly threatened if years of fire suppression methods weren’t so aggressive. For over a century, these national forests have seen aggressive fire suppression and that has choked dense vegetation pockets. Apart from that, there has also been a proliferation of bark beetles that have killed millions of trees. 

These dead trees have become fuel for raging infernos that have been worsened by record droughts. The emergency measures taken by the US Forest Service are one among many to save ancient sequoias found only in the Sierra Nevada range. Most of those sequoia groves are clustered in Kings Canyon National Park and some even extend to Yosemite National Park.     

  1. Save Our Sequoias Act – The Save Our Sequoias Act is a bill that has received bipartisan support and if signed into law, it may help the conservation and restoration of Giant Sequoias with more robust action. Usually, sequoia trees are protected by natural fires. That means natural forest fires thin out the forest and take down dense vegetation and trees before they can grow tall enough to fuel the fire to the sequoia canopies. 

However, modern fire suppression policies don’t allow that. The Save Our Sequoias Act plans to change that. The bill would pour millions of dollars in funding and make state, federal, and private entities enter a management partnership called the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition. This governing body would then assess priority areas depending on the threat to the sequoia groves. The threats may include insects, droughts, and fire. The areas selected by the governing body would be targeted for fuel reduction, thinning, and prescribed fire to minimize risks to the giant sequoias.    

  1. Controversies – While the above-mentioned national forests are under the jurisdiction of the US Forest Service, the Sequoia National Park is run by the Interior Department which is not taking these emergency measures. Instead, they are considering a highly controversial plan where they are planting sequoia seedlings at places where large trees have already been wiped out by wildfires. 

The Save Our Sequoia Act has also received its fair share of criticism and opposition from large conservation groups in the country. According to them, the bill has questionable language that would allow agencies to bypass crucial environmental laws including the National Historic Preservation Act, Endangered Species Act, and National Environmental Protection Act. The bill may also amend the Wilderness Act and allow land managers to do logging activities on public land. 

Finally, this bill will prevent the sequoia coalition from the Federal Advisory Committee Act that promotes public involvement. The organizations that oppose the Save Our Sequoias Act also sent a letter to Congress to announce their opposition. Some groups who oppose the bill even suggested that the bill could allow routes for government agencies and private entities to evade important forest conservation laws throughout the country. 

  1. Sequoias were once thought to be fire-proof – The giant sequoias have thick and dense barks with foliage hovering high above the flames. That’s why these trees were considered non-flammable. The trees are known to even thrive in low-intensity fires that clear out competing trees. The heat from those low-intensity blazes even opened up the cones of sequoia seeds and allowed them to spread. 

However, fires in recent years have shown that these trees aren’t invulnerable despite being able to live for thousands of years. People across the country still remember scenes that showed desperate attempts by firefighters to wrap those giant trees with aluminum foil to protect them against the fire. 


Giant Sequoias are national treasures and take a very long time to reach maturity. They have both cultural and historical significance and act as giant carbon filters that help to fight climate change. That’s why appropriate steps are necessary to protect them from wildfires. You can also protect trees on your property from damage by searching for “tree service near me” and hiring pros for the job.