Fires shut Sequoia National Park, could threaten huge trees

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) — Sequoia National Park has been shut down and its namesake gigantic trees could be in danger as forest fires burn in steep terrain across California’s Sierra Nevada. The combined size of two fires has grown to more than nine square miles since they were ignited by lightning last week. Both fires are burning uphill toward Giant Forest, which is home to more than 2,000 giant sequoias. A park spokesman says these grand trees rely on fire to release their cones and provide space for seedlings to grow, but some wildfires are so intense that even sequoias can’t withstand them.