California’s oldest trees are going up in smoke. Climate change is threatening redwoods and sequoias

Fires are raging in two of California’s national parks right now — Kings Canyon and Sequoia. Dry lightning ignited the KNP Complex Fire late last week, and yesterday it exploded to around 6000 acres. The uncontained fire is now threatening the park’s iconic sequoia trees, including General Sherman, which is thought to be the largest tree in the world.

It’s nearly identical to another fire that exploded last year in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The CZU Complex Fire, which was ignited by dry lightning, burned tens of thousands of acres last August. 

It destroyed California’s oldest state park — Big Basin Redwood State Park. It badly damaged many of the park’s redwood trees — the tallest living things on earth and a cousin to the giant sequoia trees.