Old-Growth Redwood Tree Flaming, Smoking 70 Feet High
On Saturday, December 15 at about 10:30 in the morning, 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, APD reported.
On arrival, firefighters and officers discovered an old-growth
redwood tree with active fire extending about 70 feet up the tree.
Firefighters used 2500 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’s 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’s believed that this fire was caused by an illegal warming fire started by campers seeking shelter.
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,
Sunnybrae Forest, Jacoby Creek Forest, the Arcata Marsh, or any other
natural areas in Arcata, please contact the Arcata Police Department.
From the Facebook posts:
“We have a lot of homeless in Humboldt , many travel to Humboldt , many get stuck. The redwoods hide and shelter many of them. Be safe out there.”
* * *
“ It’s on now… I run/bike through here all the time and I will be calling the police for every campsite I see. Don’t mess with the trees!”
* * *
“I am sure the people were cold and wet last night. They were probably trying to stay warm. I don’t think they meant to light it on fire like that. They should of at least contacted the someone when they realized it got out of control.
It’s almost Christmas and some sleep outside by choice. But many do not ”
* * *
“That large old growth redwood off of the power line trail has been a popular transient campsite for awhile now. It is ironic and unfortunate how many people adversely impact the forest by leaving their trash and other waste, not to mention the makeshift campfires.
A few years ago two park rangers were hired to patrol the forest, but I rarely saw them out there.”
(Posted by Skippy Massey)