Yosemite Takes Steps to Protect Sequoias from Fire

Credit: Associated Press
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GROVELAND, Calif. (AP) -- As a wildfire rages along the remote northwest edge of Yosemite National Park, officials are clearing brush and setting sprinklers to save two groves of giant sequoias.

The iconic trees can resist fire, but park spokesman Tom Medena said dry conditions and heavy brush are forcing fire officials to take extra precautions in the Tuolumne and Merced groves. About three dozen of the giant trees are affected.

The trees grow naturally only on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada.

The fire has burned more than 200 square miles near the park's northern boundary. It is just 5 percent contained.

More than 5,500 homes are threatened and four were destroyed. Voluntary and mandatory evacuations have been ordered.

The fire has been burning for a week. The cause is under investigation.