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A person at the base of the General Sherman Tree in Sequoia National Park in 2006. Photo: Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Two uncontained California wildfires are projected to spread toward Sequoia National Park, forcing around 75 park personnel to evacuate, AP reports.

Why it matters: Park officials said the fires have the potential to threaten a part of the park known as Giant Forest, which is home to more than 2,000 giant sequoias, including one that is considered the largest tree on Earth by volume.

  • The massive General Sherman Tree is 275 feet tall and over 36 feet in diameter at its base, according to the National Park Service.

What they're saying: “There’s no imminent threat to Giant Forest but that is a potential,” Mark Ruggiero, fire information officer for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks, said Tuesday, according to AP.

  • Ruggiero said the closest flames were about a mile from Giant Forest on Tuesday morning.

The two fires ⁠— collectively called the KNP Complex ⁠— were ignited by lightning on Sept. 9 and have since grown to 7,039 acres as of Wednesday afternoon, according to federal wildfire data.

  • The Paradise Fire, the largest of the two, spread north toward Sequoia National Park on Tuesday, crossing the Kaweah River and the Generals Highway.
  • Multiple communities south of Giant Forest have been ordered to evacuate, while others have received evacuation warnings.

The big picture: California this year has been battered by multiple large wildfires, which are exacerbated by a climate change-caused megadrought across the West.

  • The Dixie Fire, now the second-largest wildfire in the state's recorded history, has torched more than 960,5oo acres and is 75% contained.

Go deeper: The U.S. just had its hottest summer, tying with "Dust Bowl" year of 1936

Go deeper

Senate confirms Charles Sams III as first Native American to head National Park Service

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

The Senate this week voted to unanimously confirm Charles Sams III as director of the National Park Service, making him the first Native American to head the agency.

State of play: Sams is the first director to be confirmed by the Senate in five years, AP reports. Jonathan Jarvis, who was confirmed under the Obama administration, left the position in 2017 and, since then, the agency has been led by acting directors.

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Winter view from Charlotte as winter storm Izzy creates dangerous conditions in Charlotte, N.C. on Jan. 16. Photo: Peter Zay/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A major winter storm was lashing much of the East Coast on Sunday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The big picture: Heavy snow and ice accumulations were "likely to produce hazardous travel," downed trees and more outages from the Mid-South to the Northeast, per the National Weather Service. Some parts of the U.S. can expect to see up to a foot of snow through Monday.

Updated 5 hours ago - Science

Volcanic eruption in Tonga caused "significant" damage

This satellite image of the eruption on Jan. 15 taken by Himawari-8, a Japanese weather satellite operated by Japan Meteorological Agency and released by National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT). Photo: NICT via AP

Significant damage has been reported in Tonga following an undersea volcanic eruption on Saturday, which covered the Pacific nation in ash and cut off communication lines.

Driving the news: The eruption triggered tsunami warnings across Tonga's islands and in other regions, including the West Coast of the U.S. and New Zealand.