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Good Fires Save Ancient Sequoia Trees

Climate change increasingly threatens America's West Coast giant sequoia trees, like those in California’s Yosemite National Park that are over 2,000 years old. ‍

Giant sequoia in Yosemite park

One way to protect these important members of our planet’s ecosystem is with intentional burning or “prescribed fires,” which occur when expert foresters and ecologists reduce forest “fuel” by allowing a controlled fire to pass through areas that would cause less damage than an uncontrolled fire.

Prescribed and intentional fire management practices have long been cultivated by Native American tribes, and they continue to advocate for their effectiveness today. In fact, in practice with mechanical and other forest thinning procedures, intentional fires are vital to prevent disastrous wildfires.

And foresters have been practicing these intentional burns in Yosemite for a half-century, and just this year, it allowed a fire to pass through the Mariposa Grove, Yosemite's biggest and best known old-growth sequoia cluster, leaving the trees unscathed.

Man standing in front of a giant sequoia


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