Over the past two years, 20 percent of all the giant sequoia trees on the planet were destroyed by wildfire. Now, two congressmen from different parties have introduced a bipartisan bill that would provide money to protect the world’s largest trees.
California’s Democratic Rep. Scott Peters of San Diego and Republican House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield have revealed the Save our Sequoias Act, which would help restore the lost sequoias due to recent wildfires and support their protection in the future. The bill is another example of politicians and wildfire officials scrambling to protect the outdoor destinations of California from devastating wildfires.
“These natural wonders have stood tall for thousands of years, and their loss is a devastating blow to our communities and the environment,” said McCarthy in a statement. “This bill would make commonsense reforms to forest management practices to reduce the risk of catastrophic fires.”
The measure would allocate $325 million over 10 years to streamline projects to help boost fire mitigation in the California forests known to house the giant trees, including thinning brush and prescribe burning. It would also call for a federal emergency declaration, which would help maneuver around current bureaucratic delays, such as the Endangered Species Act. The bill would rely heavily on the current work of the Giant Sequoia Lands Coalition.
Although giant sequoias are known as mostly fireproof, massive wildfires have proven that these resilient trees can be killed with the extreme heat we have seen in recent fires. In 2020, The SQF Complex Fire torched 7,500 to 10,600 giant sequoias, and the KNP Complex and Windy fires killed up to 3,637 sequoias in 2021.