Saving sequoias from wildfires driven by climate change

ABC News’ Zohreen Shah reports from Sequoia National Park on efforts to manage the impacts of climate change with controlled burns that protect giant sequoias from wildfires.
5:59 | 06/16/21

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Transcript for Saving sequoias from wildfires driven by climate change
They are Sheen tour height help slow climate change but tonight the majestic mighty sequoia are in danger threatened by the very thing they rely on to survive. Fire our screen shot travel to the medical groves in California's sequoia national park and has more on the effort to preserve the trees placed in nature. Older than Jesus older than Mohammed's older than me back. Older than the Middle Ages. There just fabulous our planet's high list how ring treasures. Out. I don't know. Ancient sequoia trees they speak to us as human beings about. Longevity. And tion and deep history. And resilience. But that resilience is being tested as human caused climate change isn't fundamentally. Altering the fabric of our planet's forests. Have been to just a few years ago. Is it just virtually unheard of that fire could actually. General Schuermann has still you're an approximate 2300. Year it's these other masters. Of survival. Of weathering insects and fire her and storms. And drought. Fighting war after war armed with a critical weapon. That could be key to preserving the planet they produce oxygen and they start carbon they hold the soil in place that make places for bird bath. You are pretty big sequoia groves like this one among the world's most of fishing at sucking up and converting carbon dioxide. But last August even these masters of survival couldn't make it through the castle buyer. As a wildfire raged through the Lawrence. Christie Brigham the chief scientist overseeing this equated the park was devastated scene the charred trees. Fit really. Sorry get injured up. Really has been like a multi stage grief process when the fire was burning we got to gather and rapidly tried to prioritize all the groves that we thought the fire might get through and talk to the fire team about can you back burned some of these to protect them. It wasn't enough. This fire was true much for even the strongest giants to bear it's heartbreaking and devastating. A startling report expected later this month he killed an incredible lots 10% of the world's native sequoia is brought to the great don't. It's thousands of years of living history that were lost in wind and fire. That we can't get back we cannot get back in our lifetime. It's going to be hundreds of years. Part of it is it's human induced climate change areas gotten hotter drier and that. The temperatures it changed so much theory work around the general. But it's also about past mistakes and an ongoing debate about how to manage our forests. Climate change is super charging fire conditions. Making it a challenge to balance and natural role fires in ecosystems with a dire destruction these scorching and Burgos can cause. Firefighters previously aggressively put out every single forests fire. But that strategy along with the recent bone dry Summers reading Tinder box conditions. If you have the app since of fire. For a period of time you have a lot of other trees that are growing up that would normally be there in a natural healthy florists. A lot of that unchecked growth providing a ladder for flames to reach the higher up Sukhoi S. Creating far more intense fires that complied with drought. Is what creates they did devastating combination of factors that we saw it in the castle fire. So now park Rangers are intentionally lighting the forest on fire. So this is how controlled this fire is right now that guy in the Red Hat he's the burden but he's watching every inch of these flames to make sure it stayed up prescribed area. Doesn't he hits a trigger a truck right there to jump into action. And they're doing so to try and save it. By doing to prescribe birth formed in the some of those effects of what actually occurred it is the trooper doesn't. On this date about fifty park firefighters were in the field. Closely torching extra fuel just feet away from the visitors entrance you can feel just how hot this fire is and and the fuel is still dry this fire is spreading rapidly. Close to 3000. People live in the adjacent communities we really that we really need to take a proactive approach to fire management. We can't just be play defense anymore the inside of his equally as providing clues to the past. Every hole you see here is applying her scar told us what the conditions were like. At this Sri survived multiple low intensity natural fires for generations simply is actually rely on low intensity fires to serve bite. The natural blazes help the trees create offspring. And that means not necessarily fling at every single fire. We don't wanna put out every single fire we want to make sure that we're managing fire for what the conditions and what do you species actually be. Letting the park burned in hopes of seeing this aquae a species. Think you're gonna beat that other one just hang in their buddy. Where were looking out for area. And in turn these ancient trees looking out for our planet's future. So you think Christie your grandkids grandkids are they seen this park like this. Maybe not just like this but I hope a lot of it will be the same time this is the need a fighter like you're not currently. I don't have any plans believe they've been here for 2000 years the least I can do lists put in a kid ten or fifteen on their behalf. Soaring shocked ABC news sequoia national park.

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