One of the greatest dangers to a forest is fire. A single forest fire can be responsible for wiping out hundreds of square acres of vegetation. Forest fires will typically leave nothing but destruction and charred remains in their aftermath.
In virtually every forest, fires are seen as a catastrophic event with horrible repercussions.
This is not true in Sequoia National Forest.
The only way the Sequoia can reproduce is when there IS a fire.
The Sequoia’s fertile seeds will remain and the bark until set free by a forest fire. As the fire moves through the Sequoia habitat, the fire heats up the trunks of the mighty tree.
The tree itself will not burn in the fire as the bark is not flammable. Eventually the bark will become hot enough to release the seed, which will fall to the ground where it will be implanted in the fertile post-fire ashes and begin its multi-millennial life.
It is breathtaking to sit on the ground at the base of one of these gigantic trees. The mature sequoias tower into the sky as if reaching into the heavens. Despite the trees’ massiveness, rays of sunshine stream through the trees on a journey to the floor of the forest where they will, along with periodic rain, provide nutrients to the rapidly growing seedlings -- and to the undergrowth that will be fuel for a future fire!