Thick, fire-resistant bark and a massive canopy can protect trees from wildfires, most notably: giant sequoias. Native trees like koa can also use their canopies to their advantage by shading out fire-loving undergrowth, reducing the amount of fuel for a fire. Unfortunately, most native plants in Hawaii do not regenerate well after a wildfire, unlike sequoias. Our fire ecosystems in Hawaii can differ vastly from the mainland, but some things hold true for all.
"'They are a fire-dependent species that are well adapted to survive burns,' says Nichols. 'In fact, fire helps them get the next generation of sequoias started.' That’s because fire encourages the trees to drop their cones en masse. The blaze knocks out competition from other plants and provides a great shot of fertilizer in the form of ash. (Learn more about sequoias and fire.)'
Sequoias have fibrous, fire-resistant bark that can grow up to two-feet thick, insulating them from damage, says Stephen C. Sillett, a Humboldt State University ecologist who has received grants from the National Geographic Society to study the giants in Sequoia National Park. The trees’ massive size and canopy also help cut down on undergrowth around them, which reduces fuel for fires."