Wildfires – California, USA

A pair of lightning-sparked fires that took hold in rugged terrain in the Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks exploded over the weekend, while another blaze to the south burned into a grove of giant sequoia trees, sending smoke billowing above popular tourist destinations and forcing closures in the area.

All three fires ignited Thursday after a series of thunderstorms rolled in, sending more than 130 lighting strikes into the southern Sierra Nevada mountains and sparking the Paradise and Colony fires in the two parks. Collectively called the KNP Complex, the fires have since seared 1,037 acres with no containment, forcing the closure of the Sequoia National Park while the Kings Canyon side remained open.

A separate blaze, dubbed the Windy fire, had seared 974 acres in the adjoining Sequoia National Forest. It had burned into the Peyrone Sequoia grove, part of the Giant Sequoia National Monument.

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