I am saddened by the fires in California this summer, especially those in the Santa Cruz Mountains, in the redwoods south of San Francisco and north of Santa Cruz. I spent much time as a teenager roaming Big Basin State Park, Butano State Park, and other places. Beautiful places. But they haven’t been destroyed — far from it. Fire is as natural there as in other forest types in the west. I recall playing in old redwoods hollowed out at the base by fire, still standing and growing.
Fire was once common in the redwoods, but as in the Sierras and elsewhere, the elimination of Native American fire and aggressive fire suppression has led to high levels of fuels, dead and green. Some observers will point to climate change as the dominant role in these fires, but human management or the lack of it is a large and often ignored factor.
Here’s a paper on the topic:
“The Enigmatic Fire Regime of Coast Redwood Forests and Why it Matters,” J. Morgan Varner and Erik S. Jules, Proceedings of the Coast Redwood Science Symposium, 2016.