Preliminary Toll from Sierra Wildfires Confirm That Treasured Giant Sequoia Face an Existential Threat

Media Contact:
Robin Carr, Landis Communications Inc.
Email: [email protected] | Phone: (415) 766-0927

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Save the Redwoods League

Save the Redwoods League calls for emergency conservation measures

San Francisco, Calif. (November 19, 2021)—Early estimates of giant sequoia mortality from the 2021 wildfires confirm that these treasured, rare forests are facing an existential threat from past forest management decisions and climate change. Data released today by a coalition of Sierra land managers suggests that nearly 20% of the largest, oldest giant sequoia have been killed by severe wildfire in less than two years.

According to data compiled by the Giant Sequoia Coalition, 28 giant sequoia groves experienced fire from the 2021 KNP Complex and Windy fires, and these fires killed up to 5% of world’s giant sequoia that are at least four feet in diameter. When combined with estimates that as much as 14% of the world’s monarchs were killed in the 2020 Castle Fire, the numbers paint a grim future for these natural treasures unless immediate action is taken.

The League’s 160-acre property in the Red Hill Grove was among those hit by the Windy Fire, and staff has confirmed that a number of giant sequoia were killed by severe wildfire. The Castle Fire burned into the League’s Alder Creek property in 2020, killing dozens of monarch giant sequoia.

firefighter in sequoia grove
Firefighter battled the flames at Trail of 100 Giants in the Sequoia National Forest. Photo by USFS.

Statement from Save the Redwoods League President and CEO Sam Hodder

“We need to call this situation in the giant sequoia what it is: an emergency.

“Just a few years ago, it was considered unprecedented to lose a handful of giant sequoia to wildfire in a season, but now we’re losing thousands. Those of us who have drawn so much inspiration from these timeless forests need to commit right now to stopping this tragic loss, to taking immediate conservation action in the Sierra to ensure a future for these trees.

“We know what action needs to be taken. We know that a regimen of measures, such as restoration thinning and prescribed burning, to eliminate the unnatural build-up of vegetation that is fueling these fires, will save them. We know this because this is exactly what saved the General Sherman Tree and the other iconic giant sequoia in Giant Forest. The problem is that all too few of the groves have experienced that treatment, and they are tinderboxes waiting for a spark.”

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For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Robin Carr at (415) 766-0927 or [email protected].


Save the Redwoods League

One of the nation’s longest-running conservation organizations, Save the Redwoods League has been protecting and restoring redwood forests since 1918. The League has connected generations of visitors with the beauty and serenity of the redwood forest. The nonprofit’s 29,000 supporters have enabled the organization to protect more than 216,000 acres of irreplaceable forest in 66 state, national and local parks and reserves. For information, visit For updates, subscribe to our E-Newsletter.

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