As of mid-October, about 16,563 acres have burned in the giant sequoia range (roughly 34 percent of the range), most of which is old growth. Sequoia trees are equipped with a durable armor of bark, designed to weather wildfires and even thrive within them. The Rough Fire tore through 8,888 aces of giant sequoia groves. Their cones also release seeds when exposed to fire. The larger issue is fire severity. Giant sequoias are the oldest—but not the tallest—living tree on earth. Periodic wildfires help to produce all of these conditions and are therefore very beneficial to the reproduction of sequoia trees. As we have noted before, the SQF Complex Fire (also known as the Castle Fire), has had a profound impact on the giant sequoia groves in the Sierra Nevada. Forest fires help open the cones which then grow from the burnt, bare soil. (Ezra David Romero/KQED) Caprio, a few other scientists and I are hiking the 1½-mile North Grove Trail in Grant Grove. 16. The redwood tops the sequoia in height, but in total volume, the giant sequoias are the largest living things in the world. Sequoia seedlings need nutrient-rich soil, lots of sunlight, and an area free of competition from other plants to thrive. The Castle fire was different from previous wildfires as all-consuming flames turned the giant trees into sequoia skeletons. Following the fire in the groves, the ground was littered with just millions and millions of seeds." Fire is an important element of the giant sequoia forest. Giant sequoias only reproduce by seeds which sometimes remain in the cone for 20 years.