Climate Signals summary: Human-caused climate change has lead to an increase in wildfire risk in California, endangering giant sequoias in the region.
Wildfires have killed thousands of giant sequoias this year, which added to last year’s devastating toll means that nearly a fifth of the world’s largest trees have perished over the past 14 months. Somewhere between 2,261 to 3,637 giant sequoias perished in the KNP Complex and Windy fires this year, which represents somewhere between 3 to 5 percent of the total population of the trees, according to new estimates by the National Park Service. That toll is particularly devastating when added to the toll of last year’s Castle fire that killed up to 14 percent of the world’s population of giant sequoias.
The majestic sequoias once even thrived with fires. But now a combination of climate change that has increased the intensity of fires and caused hotter droughts as well as fire suppression tactics that have led to unnaturally dense forests has made the trees more vulnerable.
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