Some of the most beloved trees in Yosemite National Park are under threat as the Washburn Fire continues to burn, and firefighters are doing everything they can to protect them.
Officials say the fire started on July 7 in Mariposa Grove, an area protected by legislation signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.
Yosemite is home to hundreds of rare, giant sequoia trees, some of which are believed to be more than 3,000 years old.
One of these iconic trees is the Grizzly Giant. Crews say that this tree is arguably one of the most famous trees on earth. It stands at 209 feet and is the second-largest tree in Yosemite.
So, to protect the Grizzly Giant and others, firefighters installed sprinklers to keep the giant sequoias from burning.
"We're trying to give it some, you know, preventative first aid," Yosemite Fire and Aviation Management said on Saturday.
The fire grew double in size over the weekend due to extremely dry conditions, so crews feel that any amount of moisture will help.
"We're trying to [. . .] make sure that if the fire comes over here, that this tree is protected. That is, to cool flames and to increase the relative humidity and decrease the fire behavior around this tree," Yosemite Fire crews said about the Grizzly Giant. "We really don't want to leave this one to chance because this really is such an iconic tree."
Sprinkler systems were also set up along roads with the most significant risk for fire spread.
"Firefighters have gone in there and [. . .] cutting direct line around those around [Mariposa] Grove as well, as well as wrapping some of those sequoia trees with fire protective wrap," Marc Peebles with the California Incident Management team said.
Crews are also fighting the fire with fire.
"It's all dependent on the situation and the conditions," Matt Ahearn, Deputy Operations Chief of Team 13, said. "Offensive firing is one of the options that gets it down to a pre-established control line."
Warm temperatures and a dry weather pattern are forecast to continue through the week, which could hinder firefighting efforts. Monday evening, officials said the Washburn Fire remained active and is expected to grow.
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