THREE RIVERS, Calif. (AP) — Hot, dry weather added to the challenges facing California firefighters who are battling to keep flames from driving further into a grove of ancient sequoias, where the base of the world’s tallest tree has been wrapped in protective foil.

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Fire officials warn that stronger winds Sunday are also contributing to “critical fire conditions” in the area of the KNP Complex, two lightning-sparked blazes that merged on the western side of Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada.

More than 34 square miles of forest land have been blackened.

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