2,000-year-old redwoods survive California wildfire

Last week, California’s Big Basin Redwoods State Park endured a wildfire. 

It was feared that the ancient redwoods located in California’s oldest state park had been destroyed by the wildfire; thankfully, after going on a hike in the state park, an Associated Press reporter and photographer confirmed that the majority of these ancient trees have survived and withstood the fire. Some of the redwoods are known to be around 2,000 years old and “among the tallest living things on Earth”. One of the surviving redwoods has even been named ‘Mother of the Forest’.

Conservation director for the Semepervirens Fund, an environmental group dedicated to the protection of redwoods and their habitats, commented on the wildfire and the survival of the redwoods:

That is such good news, I can’t tell you how much that gives me peace of mind. 

Laura McLendon

Source: NBC News/AP

McLendon further explained that reports which claimed that the state park and the forest were now gone are misleading and false. She claims that the historic park headquarters, many small buildings and the campground infrastructure have been destroyed by the wildfire but notes that the forest is not gone:

It will regrow. Every old growth redwood I’ve ever seen, in Big Basin and other parks, has fire scars on them. They’ve been through multiple fires, possibly worse than this.

Redwoods can re-sprout if they have not been toppled or uprooted. This is explained by NBC news as they reported that Mother of the Forest ‘used to be 329 feet tall, the tallest tree in the park’ and that once the top broke off during a storm, ‘a new trunk sprouted where the old growth had been’.

California’s Big Basin Redwoods State Park opened in 1902. 

Back when the state park first opened, it was viewed as the ‘genesis of redwood conservation’. Since then, it has grown to receive around 250,000 visitors per year and millions of people are reported to have walked the famous Redwood Trail. After being closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it reopened but was soon forced to shut once more as a result of the massive wildfire. Nevertheless, McLendon is certain that Big Basin will recover although a lot of work would need to be done before it reopens.

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