In order to germinate and thrive the tiny seeds of these trees must fall on bare soil. If they come to rest on the leafmold of the forest floor they won't grow. Fire is one of their soil conditioners. The big fire, which swept the basin after the lumbering, had burned away the soil covering and provided the necessary conditions for the seeds to prosper.
Among their many unusual characteristics, the world's largest trees have learned to live with fire and hence stand for centuries. When great conflagrations sweep through the forest they destroy lesser trees, but the sequoias are almost unaffected. Their bark, which is up to two feet thick, will hardly burn. This asbestoslike covering had enabled the trees in the Converse Basin to survive all threats until the loggers came.
FINE GROVE COMING
It was late afternoon when Pough made his way back over the dirt road. His car got stuck on the way out but he managed to get it going again and finally got back to the groves of living sequoias which are one of America's greatest national playgrounds. He shook his head and smiled as he finished his story.
"Three thousand years from now," he said, "there will be another fine grove of sequoias in the Converse Basin."