Historic Tree Saved by Modern Fire Technology

Historic Tree Saved by Modern Fire Technology

Modern technology, applied by the California Division of Forestry, won a long struggle to save the life of one of the largest and oldest living things on earth—the 2,000-year-old redwood tree named Moses near Porterville, Calif. The 250-foot Sequoia gigantea was set afire the week of August 2 by a bolt of lightning and immediate steps were taken by the state forestry division to save the tree, which is regarded as a parent of the redwoods for a half-mile around and is a landmark in the area.

When a 9-foot section fell from the top of the lofty tree some six days after the fire’s discovery, forestry officials were afraid it would be necessary to destroy Moses, it being too close to other trees in the Sequoia National Forest. However, a combination of helicopter and modern chemical extinguishing agents finally enabled rangers to gain the upper hand.

Redwoods have been known to burn for 30 days or more and where the fire occurs near the tree’s crown, extinguishment in the past has been difficult. In the case of Moses the division of forestry used 50 men, the helicopter, a bulldozer, a pumper truck and tank trucks to win its fight.

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