Photos: Devastating wildfires threaten world's oldest trees at Yosemite National Park
Some of the world's oldest sequoia trees are in danger in California's Yosemite National Park, which is being scorched by a wildfire.
Over the weekend, the wildfire expanded five-fold, making authorities very nervous about the state of Yosemite Park.
By Sunday, the wildfire had burned up almost 1,600 acres or 648 hectares of brush and timber in the park's southern region.
The fire was first reported on Thursday, July 7, on the Washburn Trail of the Mariposa Grove, home of the Giant Sequoias.
By Friday, it had already scorched 250 acres of parkland, and the adjacent Indigenous community of Wawona was evacuated.
Once the fire was reported, National Park Service staff immediately closed Mariposa Grove.
Mariposa Grove is home to more than 500 giant sequoia trees. The majestic sequoia can grow to more than 250 feet.
Mariposa grove was founded in 1857 however, the trees existed long before that, with some believed to be more than 2,000 years old.
According to Park Service spokesperson Nancy Phillipe, the southern entrance to Yosemite has now been shut down, which usually draws 4 million visitors a year.
The volume of smoke caused by the fire has prompted air quality alerts throughout the park and blurred the famous views Yosemite is known for.
Federal wildfire officials on Sunday warned that air quality for particulate matter had reached unhealthy levels across much of the park.
Nonetheless, as firefighters do their best to contain the wildfire, Yosemite Valley, one of the park's best-known attractions, remains open to visitors from the western entrance.
However, visitors must put up with soot, smoke, and hazy views of park favorites such as Bridalveil Falls or the Half Dome.
According to Phillipe, despite the extremely dry and hot weather, the fire has not yet destroyed any of the ancient sequoias.
Firefighters have been working around the clock to clear undergrowth and protect the grove, in addition to using a ground-based sprinkler system to dampen the flames.
Phillipe told Reuter, "We're feeling confident of the plan we have in place today." At the moment, the cause of the fire is still under investigation, and thus far, officials say that nobody has been injured.