Specialist firefighters have saved the world’s final remaining wild stand of a prehistoric tree from wildfires that razed forests west of Sydney, officers stated Thursday.
Firefighters winched from helicopters to succeed in the cluster of fewer than 200 Wollemi Pines in a distant gorge within the Blue Mountains per week earlier than a large wildlife bore down, stated David Crust, direct of the Nationwide Parks and Wildlife Service.
The firefighters arrange an irrigation system to maintain the prehistoric timber, also referred to as dinosaur timber, moist, and pumped water each day from the gorge because the blaze that had burned uncontrolled for greater than two months edged nearer.
Firefighting planes strategically bombed the hearth entrance with fireplace retardant to sluggish its progress.
“That helped simply to sluggish the depth of the hearth because it approached the positioning,” Crust advised the Australian Broadcasting Corp.
“The Wollemi Pine is a very essential species and the truth that that is the one place on the earth the place they exist they usually exist in such small numbers is actually important.”
New South Wales state Atmosphere Minister Matt Kean stated the operation had saved the stand, though some crops had been singed.
“These pines outlived the dinosaurs, so after we noticed the hearth approaching we realized we needed to do every thing we might to avoid wasting them.”
The Wollemi Pine had solely been seen in its fossilized kind and was thought lengthy extinct earlier than the stand was present in 1994.
The fireplace that threatened it was introduced below management this week after razing greater than 510,000 hectares. The fireplace additionally destroyed 90 per cent of the 5,000-hectare Wollemi Nationwide Park, the place the uncommon timber develop, Crust stated.
The precise location of the stand stays a carefully guarded secret to assist authorities defend the timber.
The Wollemi’s survival is among the few constructive tales to emerge from the unprecedented wildlife disaster in southeast Australia.
The fires have claimed at the very least 28 lives since September, destroyed greater than 2,600 properties and razed greater than 10.three million hectares, principally in New South Wales state. The world burned is bigger than the U.S. state of Indiana.
However the fireplace hazard has been diminished by rain this week in a number of areas. The primary inexperienced buds of regrowth have already emerged in some blacked forests following rain.