Loss of giant sequoia highlights need for action on wildfires

Experts estimate that as much as 14% of mature giant sequoia were killed in Castle Fire

Preliminary studies from the National Park Service estimate that between 7,500 and 10,400 mature giant sequoia were killed in last year’s Castle Fire in the Sierra Nevada. This constitutes between 10% and 14% of the oldest and largest trees. This is stunning news, considering that giant sequoia have evolved to be highly resistant to fire. In recent years, the loss of just a few dozen giant sequoia was considered highly unusual. 

While many factors, including climate change, contributed to the devastation, it is the unnatural buildup of vegetation due to decades of fire suppression in the Sierra Nevada that is the most immediate issue. 

You can help 

While this news is saddening, we can still take action to save the remaining trees. And we need your help. 

  • Please send an email to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the U.S. Forest Service, asking for immediate action to protect our giant sequoia. 
  • Consider making a donation to the League’s Wildfire Fund, which will fund important measures to protect our coast redwood and giant sequoia forests, and make them more resilient in a time of future wildfires.  

About the author

Since 1918, Save the Redwoods League has protected and restored redwood forests and connected people with their peace and beauty so these wonders of the natural world flourish.

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3 Responses to “Loss of giant sequoia highlights need for action on wildfires”

  1. Fred M. Cain

    One thing I’m a little confused about, it’s been stated that nearly 14% of the mature giant Sequoias perished. And yet the inciweb burn severity site stated that only 6% of the huge complex fire burned at high severity. How so?

    Did the Sequoias just get “lucky” and the small area that burned at high severity hit them? Is it possible that a few of the “dead” trees might not be dead after all and later recover? I’m afraid that’s probably too much to hope for, though.

  2. Susan Considine

    I am grateful for everything you do, but I would love to know more detailed information about what can be done to protect these trees and forests.

    • Save the Redwoods League

      Aside from giving to the Wildfire Fund or writing your representatives, keep an eye out for future related policy action alerts. Enjoy the parks. Take photos, share on social media, teach your children about them, pay for admission and parking without complaint, help build a conservation culture. For other ways to connect, teach, and inspire, check out our educational resources!


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