Devastating fires over the last three years in California have endangered the limited number of giant sequoias to the point where scientists are cloning the huge trees and planting them farther north where climate change may produce suitable growing conditions.
Preliminary surveys found that in a two year period, 2020 and 2021, almost 20 percent of all giant sequoias in their natural range over four feet in diameter were killed by fire (and neglect) or will die in the next few years. In 2020, 10 to 14 percent of the entire Sierra Nevada population of giant sequoia trees over 4 feet in diameter were killed in the Castle Fire. Early estimates after two fires the following year, the KNP Complex and the Windy Fire, 2,261 to 3,637 sequoias over four feet in diameter were killed or will die within the next three to five years.
At this rate, with this climate, we could lose the rest of these massive trees in just a few years.
A team of expert horticulturists is using cloning technology to replant redwoods and sequoias and save their genetic material.
The Brittle Fire on the Huron-Manistee National Forest has burned more than 6,000 acres
1:38 p.m. EDT April 24, 2021
A prescribed fire in northeast Michigan intended to treat 1,086 acres on the Huron-Manistee National Forest escaped control Friday. The location of the prescribed was to be about four miles northeast of Hale, and south of Iargo Road between Allen and National Trout Pond Roads in Iosco County.
The goal of the project was to reduce hazardous fuels, restore ecosystem function in fire adapted vegetation, and enhance wildlife habitat. The vegetation in the planned area was Red Pine, Jack Pine and Oak forests.
In a statement on Saturday morning the Huron-Manistee National Forest said the wildfire had burned 6,100 acres. Friday night firefighters took advantage of cooler weather to make progress in constructing control lines on the perimeter. On Saturday that work will continue, aided by water-dropping helicopters.
On Friday afternoon a weather station north of the fire at Barton City recorded 9 to 14 mph winds gusting out of the west at 22 mph, while the relative humidity was in the low 20s — difficult conditions for a prescribed fire. The forecast for the area is more in favor of the firefighters. The National Weather Service predicts for Saturday southwest winds at 9 mph with relative humidity in the 40s and 50s. There is a chance of rain from late in the afternoon until midnight.
And in Yates County, New York, Sheriff Ron Spike, thinks a sky lantern caused a fire that burned a portion of a boat dock on Keuka Lake July 4. Boaters on the lake notified residents who were able to suppress the fire by dumping lake water onto it.
Below is an excerpt from an article at the Chronicle Express:
…Investigation by deputies and the fire chief concluded that based on debris at the scene that a sky lantern someone had launched to celebrate July 4 had landed on the dock, causing the fire. Spike says the property owner is William Goulburn, of Rochester, and the damage is over $1,000…
Sky lanterns are made with plastic or lightweight paper and are lifted into the air when burning material is ignited at the base making it lighter than air. They can travel for more than a mile, whichever way the wind blows. Sometimes the fuel is still burning when the device contacts a structure, a tree, or lands on the ground. Usually they are not retrieved and become someone else’s trash.
The dangerous devices are banned in 29 states and many counties and cities.
Pyrotechnics used by the military during training in northern Michigan (map) started a fire that burned about 700 acres Saturday, according to military officials on the scene.
Below is an excerpt from 9&10News:
…The fire tore through parts of Camp Grayling in Crawford County around 2:00 yesterday afternoon and burned an area North of Kyle Lake Road.
New information now suggests that a Marine infantry battalion training on site employed pyrotechnics and signal flares and inadvertently started the fire.
A senior Camp Grayling official tells Northern Michigan’s News Leader that, after realizing the fire was too large to effectively extinguish, crews made the decision to keep the flames contained to a well-defined area–and then treated it as an unscheduled controlled burn, making ‘the best of a bad situation’.
Two firefighters were injured April 18, one seriously, by a falling tree while working on a wildfire near Chesaning, Michigan (map). Kevin Carlton, Assistant Chief of the Chesaning Fire Department, said the firefighters were working to put out flames in a hollow tree. While they were using a chain saw the tree suddenly fell, striking the two men.
Fire Chief Scott Hall received minor injuries and is recovering at home. Firefighter Ryan McPherson is recovering from serious injuries. A gofundme account has been set up for Mr. McPherson where the following information is provided:
[He was] flown to Henry Ford Hospital for extensive surgery and recovery. He is expected to be in the hospital for several weeks followed by many months of recovery and physical therapy. Please help out our local Firefighters, any and all help is appreciated.
Employees of the Huron-Manistee National Forest in Michigan teamed up with employees of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to make a Smokey Bear ice sculpture for the 2015 North American Snowmobile Festival in Cadillac. U.S. Forest Service photo.
And speaking of Smokey, here is a classic poster from the 1990s.