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Science & Environment

Rough Fire Spreads Near Ancient Sequoia Grove In California

KIRK SIEGLER, BYLINE: I'm Kirk Siegler, and I'm about 300 miles southeast of the Valley fire in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. I'm at the base camp for operations of the Rough fire. This blaze is the largest in California at the moment, and it's really an example of the new type of Western fire. It's been burning for a good chunk of the summer now - since July - and it keeps spreading due to these historically dry conditions. Fire managers here are telling me that every time firefighters think they've started to turn a corner, the hot, windy weather picks back up and the fire starts spotting and burning through beetle-killed trees. There's only been one structure loss so far.

The main concern here, though, is ecological. The Rough fire has burned into an ancient grove of giant Sequoia trees, so crews are stationed around the grove with water tanks and engines. A park service official tells me that right now the fire at that place is low intensity, which is a good thing. It's how it should be, and they are hoping to keep it that way. The good news is there is a small cold front coming in, and as I'm reporting this, I'm feeling even a few raindrops. Kirk Siegler, NPR News, King's Canyon National Park. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.