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article imageCentral California wildfire threatens 3,000-year-old forest

By Nathan Salant     Sep 11, 2015 in Environment
Fresno - Firefighters in California are battling to protect 3,000-year-old Sequoia trees from a raging wildfire that has burned thousands of acres in Kings Canyon National Park and is approaching the ancient grove.
Communities around the park face evacuation orders and even animals that live at the park, including lions and tigers, are being moved to other parklands as the state's largest wildfire rages largely out of control
Andy Isolano of the Clovis Fire Dept. said firefighters were using bulldozers to clear underbrush from around the park's historic Grant Grove, home of the 260-foot-tall General Grant tree, in an effort to keep the flames from the ancient trees, according to the Associated Press.
The trees can endure fire, Isolano said, but many of them are stressed after four years of drought and authorities don't want to take any risks now that the flames are within five miles of the grove.
The Rough fire was sparked by lightning on July 31 in the national park just east of Fresno, and has already burned nearly 200 square miles.
Containment was put at less than one-third on Wednesday despite efforts of more than 2,000 firefighters.
The flames forced the temporary shutdown of Cat Haven in Fresno County and dozens of wild cats have to be moved, mostly to the Los Angeles Area, the AP said.
The Sierra foothill towns of Dunlap, Mramonte and Pinehurst are being evacuated.
Fresno's Chaffee Zoo is assisting in relocating the animals, the AP said.
But the Rough fire is not the only blaze causing problems in drought-parched California.
Wildfires in Amador County in Northern California destroyed six homes and two outbuildings as of yesterday and has spread to Calaveras County, forcing many residents to evacuate their communities, and above Yosemite Valley forced road and trail closures in Yosemite National Park.
Smoke from the Yosemite Valley fire was visible thoughout the park, park spokesman Scott Gediman said Thursday, and trails on the valley's north rim -- south of Tioga Road and east of Yosemite Creek -- have been closed.
More about Fire, Wildfire, Fresno, Sequoia, Grant
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