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Fires shut Sequoia National Park, could threaten huge trees

A park spokesman says Giant Forest is not imminently threatened but that there is a potential threat.

SEQUOIA CREST, Calif. — Sequoia National Park has been shut down and its namesake gigantic trees are potentially threatened as wildfires burn in steep and dangerous terrain in California’s Sierra Nevada. 

Two fires were ignited by lightning last week and their combined sizes cover nearly 5 square miles on Tuesday. Both fires are projected to advance in the direction of Giant Forest, which is home to more than 2,000 giant sequoias. 

A park spokesman says Giant Forest is not imminently threatened but that there is a potential threat.

The park headquarters is being evacuated and the community of Three Rivers outside the park entrance is under an evacuation warning.

Read the full story from the AP here.

WILDFIRE PREPS

According to Cal Fire, 2020 was one of the most severe fire seasons on record as 9,917 wildfires burned 4.2 million acres. Over 9,000 structures were destroyed, and 31 people (civilians and firefighters) were killed. 

California also experienced its first "Gigafire" because of the August Complex Fire, burning over 1 million acres by itself. Four of California's top five largest wildfires in state history happened in 2020. 

If you live in a wildfire-prone zone, Cal Fire suggests creating a defensible space around your home. Defensible space is an area around a building in which vegetation and other debris are completely cleared. At least 100 feet is recommended.

WATCH: What you need to know to prepare, stay safe for wildfires

The Department of Homeland Security suggests assembling an emergency kit that has important documents, N95 respirator masks, supplies to grab with you if you’re forced to leave at a moment’s notice. The agency also suggests signing up for local warning system notifications and know your community’s evacuation plans best to prepare yourself and your family in cases of wildfires.

Some counties use Nixle alerts to update residents on severe weather, wildfires, and other news. To sign up, visit www.nixle.com or text your zip code to 888777 to start receiving alerts. 

Read more: Are you wildfire ready? Here's what to do to prepare for fire season.

PG&E customers can also subscribe to alerts via text, email, or phone call. If you're a PG&E customer, visit the Profile & Alerts section of your account to register.

What questions do you have about the latest wildfires? If you're impacted by the wildfires, what would you like to know? Text the ABC10 team at (916) 321-3310.

WATCH MORE:  Tuesday morning wildfire updates: Caldor and Dixie Fires