hondo77 writes with an excerpt from The Daily "'Mother Nature claimed one of her oldest living specimens (Monday) in a freak fire that destroyed a 3,500-year-old bald cypress tree towering over central Florida. Known as "The Senator," or simply "The Big Tree," the hollowed-out majestic timber, standing at 118 feet tall, ignited before dawn. Firefighters watched helplessly as the oldest tree east of the Mississippi — and the fifth oldest in the world — blazed and then collapsed in a heap of flaming embers.' The fire likely started by 'either a weeks- old lightning strike that smoldered until combustion occured, or friction caused by buffeting winds that ignited a spark and erupted in flames.'"
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