Officials said none of Yosemite’s famous colossal monuments were damaged by the blaze, but part of the park was closed.
Officials say part of Yosemite National Park in the US state of California has been closed as wildfires are inching closer to a famous grove of giant Sequoia trees.
Authorities blocked entrances to the park’s largest Sequoias stand and asked visitors to leave nearby areas as firefighters battled a blaze that has consumed 101 hectares (250 acres) on at 12 p.m. local time (19:00 GMT) on Friday, officials said.
The trees are renowned for their size and age, with one called the Grizzly Giant dating back over 3,000 years, a living symbol of the state’s rich natural history.
In April, US President Joe Biden signed an order to protect old-growth forests from wildfires after thousands of salamander trees were destroyed last summer.
There are no reports about serious damage this week, but park officials closed Mariposa Grove, home to more than 500 giant mascots, on Thursday. The rest of the park remains open.
“There are some torches, but we haven’t seen that on the named trees that have been reported,” said Nancy Phillipe, Yosemite’s fire information spokeswoman, as the fire killed a tree. by burning its canopy.
“Our priorities are definitely the giant mountains and the Wawona community,” says Phillipe.
The fire has been named the Washburn Fire, after a trail in Yosemite where it was first reported Thursday afternoon. It’s unclear how the fire started, but employees hope to prevent the blaze from spreading further. No injuries have been reported to date.
“We’re really hitting it really hard, as hard as we can,” said Phillipe.
Wildfires are fast becoming a feature of life in the western US as climate change exacerbates factors that have already gotten worse. fire conditions, such as prolonged drought. Of the 10 largest fires in state history, eight have occurred since 2017.
Those wildfires are common in rural areas and have threatened some of the state’s most precious natural parks.
In July 2021The Caldor Fire caused evacuations around Lake Tahoe, a spectacular lake and popular tourist destination, on the border between California and Nevada. The same month, fires broke out south of Yosemite, triggering evacuations.
Even in January, a time of year when fires are generally less common, wildfires break out in Big SurThe world-famous California region is defined by its jagged coastlines, vast forests, and sweeping vistas.
Recent fires have also prompted evacuations across the southwestern states, such as New Mexicowhere hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes to escape the flames.