Firefighters have wrapped the base of the world’s largest tree in a fire-resistant blanket, in a bid to save it from the raging wildfires plaguing California.
According to the National Park Service the General Sherman Tree, which is 52,508 cubic foot (1,487 cu m) in volume, is the largest tree in the world.
It is tall at 275 feet (84m) and has a circumference measuring 103ft (31m) from ground level.
The colossal tree is in Sequoia National Park’s Giant Forest – a grove of 2,000 sequoias – and was wrapped for protection against the possibility of intense flames, fire spokeswoman Rebecca Paterson said.
According to NBC News, some other sequoias, the Giant Forest Museum and other buildings were also wrapped for protection.
The aluminum wrapping can withstand high heat for short periods. Federal officials have used the material for protection from flames for several years along the West Coast.
Protective material was used to protect homes near Lake Tahoe from a recent wildfire. Others were destroyed in the fire.
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Officials said that the Colony Fire would reach the Giant Forest within days.
The fire follows a wildfire that destroyed thousands of sequoias in the area last year. Some of them were as tall as high-rises, and many of them are thousands of years old.
Clay Jordan, Sequoia and Kings Canyon park superintendents stressed the importance protecting these massive trees from high intensity fire.
A 50-year history of using prescribed burns — fires set on purpose to remove other types of trees and vegetation that would otherwise feed wildfires — in the parks’ sequoia groves was expected to help the giant trees survive by lessening the impact if flames reach them.
Paterson said: “A robust fire history of prescribed fire in that area is reason for optimism.
“Hopefully, the Giant Forest will emerge from this unscathed.”