How much tin foil does it take to wrap a tree that measures 102.6 ft around at the base?
National Forest Service firefighters found out recently when they wrapped the base of General Sherman the world’s largest tree, in protective foil.
The General Sherman is a giant sequoia tree. These trees live up to 3,400 years. Yes, that’s not a typo. They live thousands of years and grow over 300 feet tall.
In mid-September, 2021, a lightning-caused fire raged upslope from the General Sherman and its neighbors in Giant Forest, part of Sequoia and Kings Canyon parks in California.
The 275-foot tall General Sherman is about as tall as a 20-story building. Like other giant sequoias, General Sherman needed extra protection from the hotter-than-usual fires blazing in California this year.
With their foot-thick bark, giant sequoias withstand the heat of moderate fires that normally burn in the region. In fact, fires trigger the trees to release seeds that lead to the next generation of trees.
Unfortunately, more severe fires began killing these rare trees recently, prompting an innovative response.
The innovative application of the foil technology manufactured by U.S. company Firezat, Inc. rescued numerous trees. The fire-protection foil was developed to protect buildings, but it worked well to protect the trees.
“As far as damage to any specific sequoia trees, the older growth ones, there is none so far,” said spokesperson Mark Garrett, referring to General Sherman and nearby trees after the fire.
According to the foil manufacturer’s website, “The shields neither burn nor support combustion and offer a combination of properties including reflection of 96% of the radiant heat, 92% of the convective heat, high abrasive strength, and reduction of high-angle areas for burning embers to lodge.”
I hate to think about what might have happened without the foil shields protecting General Sherman and nearby trees.
I see this story as a great example of the benefit U.S. manufacturers provide to our communities! Do you have a story about manufacturing innovation to the rescue? Get in touch. I’d love to hear about it!
Image credit: National Park Service