« 'I'm a rule follower' | Home | The Moment When Your Name is Pronounced — Forrest Gander »

September 22, 2021

Wrapped Sequoias


Christo has wrapped the Arc de Triomphe in 270,000 square feet of shimmering fabric tied in place with red rope.*

Here in the U.S., the U.S. Forest Service has taken a page from his book in an attempt to save California's giant sequoias by wrapping their bases with aluminum-based burn-resistant material (above and below).

The wrappings can handle intense heat for short periods, according to the AP, and have been used for many years to protect structures from fires in the West.

The wrap has three layers; aluminum, heat resistant adhesive, and glass fiber.

The aluminum "fire blanket" reflects 96% of radiant heat and 92% of convective heat, according to manufacturer Firezat.

Homes that used the fire-resistant wrapping near Lake Tahoe survived a recent wildfire.


Screen Shot 2021-09-20 at 12.05.56 PM copy

an aluminum fire blanket-wrapped home that survived the Caldor Fire even as everything around it burned.

From the New York Times:

Sequoias Are Being Wrapped in Special Foil to Protect Them From Fires


Firefighters are swaddling giant sequoias in a flame-retardant foil in an effort to protect the ancient trees from wildfires that are raging through national parks in California, officials said.

Three wildfires, named Colony, Paradise, and Windy, were ignited by lightning on September 9. Since then, they have scorched thousands of acres of steep terrain, bringing them to the foot of some of the world's oldest and largest trees in the Giant Sequoia National Monument of the Sequoia National Forest, and in Kings Canyon National Park in Central California.

Park officials have been working to contain the spread of the fires using water and aerial drops of fire retardant.

This week they also started wrapping some of the most well-known of the giant sequoias along the walking trail, including one called the General Sherman, in case the fires surge uphill into groves of giant sequoias.

"It is like a big spool," said Mark Garrett, a spokesman for the fire incident team that is monitoring a set of fires known as the KNP Complex in the Sequoia groves and in Kings Canyon National Park.

"They just unwrapped the roll and went around the base of the tree," he said. "If fire got into the giant forest, I would be pretty confident that grove is going to be fine."

Mr. Garrett said they had to tailor the wrap to fit the General Sherman's girth. (The tree is more than 36 feet across at its base.) The wrapping went as high as six feet high or more, he estimated.

So far, he could confirm only that the General Sherman, which is 275 feet tall, had been blanketed. Other well-known giants along the popular trail are also going to be wrapped with the laminate of foil and fiber, which firefighters also use to make their shelters.

*FunFact: Officially opened last Saturday, September 18, the completely wrapped Arc de Triomphe took two months for a crew of 95 construction workers working around the clock since July to execute.

September 22, 2021 at 12:01 PM | Permalink


Makes me wonder how that new whitest white paint would work???

Posted by: Mike | Sep 22, 2021 1:28:38 PM

Post a comment