Voices from the Fire

Facing the Soberanes fire head-on is not for the meek. Yet some long-time residents of the county didn’t run for their lives – they didn’t even move an inch.

Among the redwoods still standing is the oldest known living redwood tree in Monterey County.

Flames burned around the 150-foot-tall, 60-foot-circumference tree, located in the Big Sur Land Trust’s 1,057-acre Mitteldorf Preserve in the Santa Lucia Mountains east of Garrapata State Park and Palo Corona Regional Park.

Some redwoods live to be 2,000 years old, in part because they are adapted to survive forest fires, with fibrous, fire-resistant bark that can grow 2 feet thick. (Scientists won’t know this tree’s exact age until they count the rings after it dies, but estimate it’s at least 800 years old.)

Redwoods can also survive drought. Fifty-two of the world’s oldest trees in the Sierra Nevadas lived through 500 years of drought, from the year 800 to 1300, according to a 2010 study from the University of Arizona in Tucson.

Editor's Note: In 2019 the Big Sur land Trust worked with a small team of researchers to determine the tree is 1,286 years old. https://bigsurlandtrust.org/mitteldorf-preserve-carmel-valley/the-dewing-tree/?blm_aid=33938

Founding Editor & CEO of the Weekly, September 1988. Bradley serves as the Free Speech Chair on the board of the national Association of Alternative Newsmedia.

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