Australia’s giant trees razed by bushfires

17 APRIL 2019

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SYDNEY, April 17 (Xinhua) — A number of Australia’s tallest trees have been turned to ash by recent bushfires in the state of Tasmania, environmentalists said on Wednesday.

Brett Mifsud and Russell DuGuesclin told the national broadcaster that fifteen trees over 85 metres tall in the Huon Valley area were killed by fires which engulfed the region over summer.

Australia’s tallest tree, which stands just over 100 metres and is nicknamed Centurion, survived the event with only scorching around it’s base.

One of the trees burned by the fires was known as the Prefect, a 500-year-old Mountain Ash with a base diameter of 19 metres.

“This is one of our top 20 trees in Australia for size and now it’s just a pile of ash really,” Mifsud said.

However, Australia’s bushland evolved for fire and Mifsud said he is seeing regrowth emerging in the ashes of the fallen giant.

“There are eucalyptus regnans seedlings — exactly the same species as this massive tree here, just 500 years younger,” he said.

While authorities said it is difficult to protect individual trees during bushfires, a number of specimens including Centurion, have previously had their bases cleared of debris and their trunks sprayed with flame retardant to help them endure blazes.

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