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More evacuations ordered in California as wildfires threaten giant sequoia trees

The sequoia trees are increasingly threatened by drought and climate change.

September 19, 2021, 1:14 PM

Wildfires swirling around California's giant sequoia trees are prompting more evacuations as they spread toward communities surrounding the forests.

Residents in Ponderosa and Quaking Aspen in Tulare County have been ordered to evacuate immediately now that the Windy Fire had fanned to more than 18,000 acres surrounding the Sequoia National Forest and was 0% contained on Sunday morning.

Other communities in Tulare County, such as Johnsondale and Camp Whitsett, had been ordered to evacuate several days earlier due to the Windy Fire, while the KNP Complex Fire, which is also threatening the historic sequoia forests, prompted evacuations in the Three Rivers community.

PHOTO: A fire engine drives past sequoia trees in Lost Grove as the KNP Complex Fire burns about 15 miles away, Sept. 17, 2021, in Sequoia National Park, Calif.
A fire engine drives past sequoia trees in Lost Grove as the KNP Complex Fire burns about 15 miles away, Sept. 17, 2021, in Sequoia National Park, Calif.
Noah Berger/AP

The KNP Complex Fire had grown to nearly 22,000 acres by Sunday morning and was also 0% contained.

Fire crews were seen earlier this week wrapping cabins and other structures in Sequoia National Forest in foil to protect them as the wildfires continue to spread. The historic trees are thousands of years old and grew to be hundreds of feet tall.

PHOTO: A cabin partially covered in fire-resistant material stands behind a property destroyed in the Caldor Fire in Twin Bridges, Calif., Sept. 2, 2021.
A cabin partially covered in fire-resistant material stands behind a property destroyed in the Caldor Fire in Twin Bridges, Calif., Sept. 2, 2021.
Jae C. Hong/AP

The sequoia trees are increasingly being threatened by drought, climate change and extreme fire.

Last year, the Castle Fire wiped out 10% of the world's native sequoias, according to the National Park Service.

Firefighters faced high temperatures and dry conditions as they battled the blaze over the weekend, and the dangerous fire conditions are expected to continue in the region.

PHOTO: Firefighters apply structure wrap to giant sequoias on the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park, Calif., Sept. 17, 2021.
Firefighters apply structure wrap to giant sequoias on the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park, Calif., Sept. 17, 2021.
National Park Service/AFP via Getty Images

Parts of Sequoia National Forest and Sequoia National Park are closed to the public due to the fires.

ABC News' Meredith Deliso contributed to this report.

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