California firefighter killed by felled tree at Calaveras

The outlet says that according to a park superintendent, firefighter Darin Banks was preparing a patch of land at Calaveras Big Trees State Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains for a prescribed burning – a method of reducing wildfire hazards and clearing debris by burning specific areas of land. 

Banks was preparing control lines for a prescribed burning in the state park’s South Grove, one of two groves of giant sequoias that are believed to be 2,000 years old. The Union Democrat says that the area was due for “badly-needed” controlled burns following a series of massive wildfires in 2020. These fires not only killed thousands of mature, 325-foot sequoias, but caused dire overgrowth in Calaveras Park’s North and South Groves. 

According to the National Park Service (NPS), the Castle Fire of 2020 and the KNP Complex fires and Windy Fires of 2021 decimated between 13 to 19 percent of the world’s large sequoias. The fires killed an estimated – and “unprecedented” – number of them, estimated to be as many as 11,897 trees. Now, they’re critically endangered.

NPS says that between 2015 and 2021, over 85 percent of all sequoia groves across the Sierra Nevada have been burned in wildfires. 

The Union Democrat reported that according to the nonprofit, Calaveras Big Trees Association, these mounting threats to giant sequoias are now a “crisis” and an “emergency.” 
Banks “was doing dangerous, vital, and crucial work to protect our giant sequoias and prepare the forest for a prescribed burn that will help prevent a catastrophic fire in the park,” Vida Kenk, president of the Calaveras Big Trees Association, told the Union Democrat.

“We are grateful for his service, which will always be remembered, and deeply regret his loss,” she continued. 

“Our hearts go out to his family in this awful time. We are grateful for the work he was doing, trying to protect the giant sequoias,” Danielle Gerhart, superintendent for California State Parks’ Central Valley District, told the outlet. 

Per the California Department of Parks and Recreation’s website, California State Parks Fire Management and Cal Fire are planning a prescribed burn in the North Grove at Calaveras Big Trees State Park. Active burning will take place over the course of several days, and visitors should anticipate periodic road and trail closures. 

Click Here For This Articles Original Source.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *