Washington—Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla (both D-Calif.) announced their support for today’s Forest Service decision to initiate emergency wildfire fuel reduction treatments to protect giant sequoia groves.
“The giant sequoia groves are a California icon, but tragically, nearly 20 percent of all mature giant sequoias have burned in the last five years. We must do all we can to protect these trees, many of which are thousands of years old, from the threat of wildfire,” the senators said in a joint statement.
“By using existing authority under NEPA to conduct these emergency fuel treatments, the Forest Service is making clear that protecting these groves is a top priority for the agency’s firefighting and wildfire prevention efforts.
“The treatments announced today will cover more than 13,000 acres and encompass a dozen giant sequoia groves that are threatened. We’ve already seen multiple giant sequoia groves burned in the last several years. We need to take action now to protect the remaining groves before we lose these majestic parts of our heritage.”
The Forest Service announced that the emergency fuel treatments will remove existing wildfire fuels through “hand cutting of small trees, mechanical removal of trees, application of borate on green stumps, pulling duff away from the base of large giant sequoias and prescribed burning.”
Forest Service Chief Randy Moore said: “Without urgent action, wildfires could eliminate countless more iconic giant sequoias. We can and must do more to protect giant sequoias using all the tools and flexibilities available to us. This emergency action to reduce fuels before a wildfire occurs will protect unburned giant sequoia groves from the risks of high-severity wildfires.”