A giant Sequoia tree in California is still smoldering from last year's Castle Fire

A single burning giant sequoia in Board Camp Grove from the 2020 Castle Fire in the southwestern area of Sequoia National Park.

(CNN)Scientists and fire crews with the National Park Service (NPS) have discovered a smoldering Sequoia tree that is still burning from the 2020 Castle Fire in California.

The tree is located in the Board Camp Grove in Sequoia National Park, an area with no direct trail access, the NPS said in a news release. However, "it may be still visible from the Ladybug Trail," NPS said.
Mike Theune, fire information officer for the park, told CNN that although lingering smolder from intense fires is not uncommon in general, it is rare for a Sequoia to remain on fire.
    "One of the things to keep in mind is that giant Sequoias need fire to be healthy, and they also need that fire to be able to rejuvenate and open up their cones with seeds on the forest floor," Theune said.
      "They have adapted to low intensity fire, but unfortunately with over 100 years of fire exclusion in many of these areas you have this build-up of vegetation, that we call fuel, so when a fire does come through -- especially a very intense, very hot wildfire -- that fuel is capitalized on and the intensity is so much more."
        In addition to the vegetation build-up, drought and low levels of precipitation are also factors, according to NPS.
        California had its worst wildfire season ever last year -- the state's wildfires consumed more than 4.2 million acres. California is bracing for more destruction this year due to worsening drought conditions and above-normal temperatures.
          "The fact areas are still smoldering and smoking from the 2020 Castle Fire demonstrates how dry the park is," Leif Mathiesen, assistant fire management officer for Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks, said in a statement. "With the low amount of snowfall and rain this year, there may be additional discoveries as spring transitions into summer."
          Because of the tree's location, NPS officials said they are more worried about the safety of park visitors as the summer months approach.
          Rangers want all visitors to stay on the trails and have a plan for their hikes, including telling someone else when and where they will be, Theune said.
          NPS officials also want the public to know that rangers are aware of the tree, so there is not an influx of calls to emergency services.
            The park has a few prescribed burns planned to control the buildup of fuel in other areas to help the restoration and growth of the forest, Theune.
            "It's not all doom and gloom," Theune said. "There is some hope, and the National Parks are still a wonderful place to visit and spend time with your family."