Historic tree "The Senator" catches fire and collapses

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Re: Historic tree "The Senator" catches fire and collapses

Post by jamesrobertsmith » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:21 pm

I saw the tree a number of times, beginning when I was just a small child up until a couple of years ago. Every time I was in that area I made sure to go see it. What a horror to see it gone.

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Re: Historic tree "The Senator" catches fire and collapses

Post by Will Blozan » Mon Jan 16, 2012 8:56 pm


Thanks for posting the shots of historic cypress. Those trees, however, are a good bit smaller than the Senator. I doubt trees of the 5,000 ft3 class were ever common. Perhaps 2,000- 2,500 cubes but not 5,000 cubes.

The Senator was likely the product of IDEAL growing conditions- not over 3000 years of mediocre growth. At 83' the Senator was still just under 5.4 feet thick- larger than any current known cypress- even those in the photos you posted (based on what can be seen). Larger in fact than any eastern tree known to ENTS. At the same height both the Sag Branch Tuliptree (NC) and the Trails End Tuliptree (TN)are just over 5' diameter- a huge differential in volume considering neither of them started at ~12' dbh...
I hope you get to measure some biggun's down your way and even better, get some reticle work-ups. I think we will find that we have just lost the superlative of all superlatives for the species in modern times. We will never know what once was, but what to strive for in the future.


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Re: Historic tree "The Senator" catches fire and collapses

Post by edfrank » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:12 pm

Once and perhaps future member Randy Cyr sent me and some others this post on the Senator Cypress Tree:
The Senator goes down in flames. The Middleton Oak lost a significant part of its crown during a storm a few years ago. What is the new eastern champion? The Sag Branch Tulip? Another Bald Cypress? Or is there live oak waiting to be recognized?

http://www.myfoxorlando.com/dpp/news/se ... ee-on-fire

3,500-year-old cypress tree collapses after catching fire in Florida

Published January 16, 2012

One of the world's oldest cypress trees -- estimated to be 3,500 years old -- collapsed early Monday after catching fire in Seminole County, Fla.

The 119-foot-tall bald cypress -- known as "The Senator" -- reportedly went up in flames after a nearby brush fire spread to Big Tree Park in Longwood, Fox affiliate WOFL-TV reports.

Fire crews responded to the scene early Monday morning and deployed hundreds of feet of hose to battle the flames, according to the station.

The Seminole County Fire Rescue team said the crew had to pull back from the fire at around 7:45 a.m. after a 20-foot section of the tree, including several branches, fell off.

Fire officials reportedly said the tree collapsed after burning from the inside out.

"It started with a brush fire," Seminole County Fire Rescue spokesman Steve Wright told the Orlando Sentinel. "The Senator was in the way. It was a casualty of the brush fire."

The historic tree stood at 165 feet before a hurricane destroyed its top in 1925.

Fire destroys Big Tree Park’s The Senator tree: MyFoxORLANDO.com

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/01/16/35 ... z1jkrIcfPI

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Re: Historic tree "The Senator" catches fire and collapses

Post by Marcboston » Mon Jan 16, 2012 9:48 pm

In that park there are some other large cypress in there correct? If so, how much smaller are they in comparison to the late Senator?

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Re: Historic tree "The Senator" catches fire and collapses

Post by bbeduhn » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:05 am

I thought it was a baldcypress. Wikipedia lists it as a pond cypress, which don't usually get as large as baldcypresses. Lady Liberty is a tree situated nearby. Wiki lists it as residing 40 feet away, 10' diameter, 89' tall. It doesn't say where, heightwise, the measurement was taken. Will's volume of 5100 cubes is listed and the demise of the tree is already listed as well.

I found elsewhere that the rings had been counted to come up with about 3500 years. My guess is that it was cored and then extrapolated to come up with that figure. If so, it could be way off like Will surmises. The inner rings were likely significantly larger, but they had rotted out by the time the count was done.

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Re: Historic tree "The Senator" catches fire and collapses

Post by aniftychic » Tue Jan 17, 2012 10:50 am

I was so sad to turn the TV on to breaking news of the Senator was on fire. My dad took me to see this tree as a child and I have taken my children. I hope they find out what happened. It hasn't stormed here in some time and there is a lighting rod on the top of it I am so glad that I had the opportunity to see this great wonder of the world.
IMG_0906.jpg (71.8 KiB) Viewed 5019 times

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Re: Historic tree "The Senator" catches fire and collapses

Post by Marcas » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:29 am

Yes what a sad day and never got to see the tree also just glad no one set the tree on fire.
Who speaks for the Trees? WE ALL DO!

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Re: Historic tree "The Senator" catches fire and collapses

Post by eliahd24 » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:40 pm

Looks like some folks are suspect of the fire:
http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os- ... 906.column

One report says a brush fire started it, another says a lightning strike 2 weeks ago burned (unknowingly) inside until finally emerging from the top....

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