Ancient Redwood Known As ‘Treebeard’ Burns In Community Forest – December 16, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

 

The ancient tree known as "Treebeard" has often been used as a traveler camp, and burned from the inside many times, It has lived on with some parts dead from the fires. Photos courtesy Mark Andre | Environmental Services

The ancient tree known as “Treebeard” has often been used as a traveler camp, and though burned from the inside many times, it has survived with some portions left dead from the fires. Photos courtesy Mark Andre | Environmental Services

City of Arcata

PRESS RELEASE 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TRANSIENT CAMP CAUSES FIRE IN OLD-GROWTH REDWOOD TREE

On Saturday, Dec. 15 at about 10:32 a.m., officers from the Arcata Police Department and two engine crews from the Arcata Fire Department were dispatched to the Arcata Community Forest on a report of a tree on fire.

On arrival firefighters and officers discovered an old-growth redwood with active fire extending about 70 feet up the tree.  The tree, estimated to be about 15 feet in diameter at the base, had likely been on fire for up to 24 hours, based on the extension of fire throughout the tree.

Firefighters used 2,500 gallons of water in battling the blaze but due to the height of the active fire in the tree were not able to fully extinguish the fire.

Due to the extensive damage to the tree the precise cause of the fire is undetermined.  Based on the high moisture level of the surrounding area and recent weather patterns it is believed this was not a naturally occurring fire.  The “goosepen” area of this tree, an interior area of the tree hollowed out by prior naturally occurring fires, has been the site of illegal campers in the past.  It is believed that this fire was caused by an illegal warming fire started by campers seeking shelter.

Firefighters fight the flames.

Firefighters fight the flames.

In the interest of public safety, Trail 15 is closed until further notice.  Staff from the City of Arcata Department of Environmental Services will monitor the tree and surrounding area and determine when the area is again safe for the public.

The Arcata Police Department reminds all residents and visitors that the Arcata Community Forest is a resource preserved for the enjoyment of all.  Fire is always a danger, even in wet weather.  For the protection of the forest, fires and camping are strictly prohibited.

If you observe any campers or fires in the Arcata Community Forest, Sunny Brae Forest, Jacoby Creek Forest, the Arcata Marsh or any other natural areas in Arcata, contact the Arcata Police Department at (707) 822-2428.

Update: Environmental Services Director Mark Andre said Treebeard’s age is difficult to determine, as it is hollow. But he estimated that it is 500 to 800 years old.

Andre said that the rain-dampened tree and surrounding forest will “probably be OK,” but that burning embers continue to waft around in the area, necessitating closure of Trail 15.

Smoke rising in the redwoods.

Smoke rising in the redwoods.

 

10 Responses to “Ancient Redwood Known As ‘Treebeard’ Burns In Community Forest – December 16, 2012”

  1. What's the state of the tree now? It looks like extensive foam was used to extinguish the fire. I do hope that stuff is non-toxic, it would be a shame to save a tree from one of many fires its survived, and then kill it in the attempt. Is the trail closed because the tree is still burning? Or danger of its falling? Or just to keep people away? This is really a bummer. I'm glad Arcata has decided to take a stewardship role in preserving so many other magnificent trees.

    #64755
  2. What's the state of the tree now? It looks like extensive foam was used to extinguish the fire. I do hope that stuff is non-toxic, it would be a shame to save a tree from one of many fires its survived, and then kill it in the attempt. Is the trail closed because the tree is still burning? Or danger of its falling? Or just to keep people away? This is really a bummer. I'm glad Arcata has decided to take a stewardship role in preserving so many other magnificent trees.

    #65633
  3. Charles Applegate

    But, Mr. Arson – if that IS your real name – was it NON-TOXIC water, or was it (dramatic music crescendos) FLUORIDATED?

    #64757
  4. Charles Applegate

    But, Mr. Arson – if that IS your real name – was it NON-TOXIC water, or was it (dramatic music crescendos) FLUORIDATED?

    #65636
  5. [...] “Transient Camp Causes Fire in Old-Growth Redwood Tree,” reads the headline posted by the City of Arcata at http://www.arcataeye.com. [...]

    #64766
  6. Heeft u prins Albert in een blikje? ja
    Je had beter hem uit! Yuk Yuk Yuk.
    Dat is erg grappig ja? Ik hou van mooie kaas en bloemen. Ja.

    #64767
  7. Disgusting bums trash our redwoods here in Santa Cruz County too.

    It would be nice if they're going to be illegal parasites in the forest they'd at least have the decency to be respectful but of course if that was the case they wouldn't be disgusting bums in the first place.

    Keeping them out of the forest should be a high priority, but politicians tacitly enable the creeps.

    #64777
  8. Disgusting bums trash our redwoods here in Santa Cruz County too.

    It would be nice if they're going to be illegal parasites in the forest they'd at least have the decency to be respectful but of course if that was the case they wouldn't be disgusting bums in the first place.

    Keeping them out of the forest should be a high priority, but politicians tacitly enable the creeps.

    #65634

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