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Fire destroys ancient redwood tree in California park

Burnt Tree AP.jpeg
Posted at 2:14 PM, Mar 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-26 15:14:24-04

LAGUNITAS, Calif. (AP) — A small fire has destroyed an ancient coastal redwood trees at a Northern California park.

The roughly 200-foot-tall (60 meters) redwood known as the Pioneer Tree fell after being engulfed in flames midday Thursday, California State Parks said in a statement. It was one of the few remaining old-growth coastal redwood tree at Samuel P. Taylor State Park, 23 miles (37 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

The Marin County Fire Department contained the fire after it spread to a half acre, the statement said. The cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

The tree had been hollowed out by previous wildfires but its root system was held up by younger redwoods.

“State Parks is devastated by the loss of this much beloved redwood tree,” said Armando Quintero, director of the state parks department. “I saw the collapsed tree in person and know how much it pains all of us who treasure these ancient giants who have lived thousands of years.”

The fire shuttered a trail that leads to the tree, but the rest of the park remains open.