The lightning-fast wildfire that ravaged Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest state park, has made it too dangerous for visitors, officials said Tuesday during a tour of the burned area by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Numerous flames that grew together near Santa Cruz and destroyed the visitor center, lodge, and nature museum also charred redwood, fir, and oak trees, with many weakened or dead and likely to fall, said park district superintendent Chris Spohrer, according to a pool report to news organizations.
It will take a year or more to find and remove all of the trees that are at risk of falling, Spohrer said.
“If this isn’t a belly blow, then you really aren’t aware of yourself as a person,” said Newsom, a Democrat, after seeing the park, founded in 1902.
One tree still smoldered as the Newsom and two massive old redwoods called the Mother and Father of the Forest.
Another tree, known for its opening in its massive trunk large enough for a car, was moderately to severely damaged during the fire, but remains standing. Newsom went in, and expressed awe at his apparent survival.
The fires in the Santa Cruz Mountains, where the park is located, broke out on August 17 after an hour-long thunderstorm that became one of more than two dozen major conflagrations that destroyed homes and killed nearly 200,000 people in different parts of California Forced evacuation.
Nearly 14,000 lightning strikes, mostly in central and northern California, have triggered hundreds of single fires since August 15. Together, these fires charred more than 1.48 million acres – a landscape that is larger than the state of Delaware, according to CalFire.
Seven deaths were confirmed and nearly 2,500 homes and other buildings were destroyed.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)