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Author Topic: Whodunnit  (Read 828 times)

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Offline Prizl tha Chizl

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« on: April 21, 2022, 02:37:47 AM »
Last night it blew and blew. We’ve had more of that this year than any spring I can remember. Something woke me up at about three thirty. Could have been this, but can’t say for sure.

Passed the scene of the crime on my way to work in the orchard later on.

It was at the edge of the cemetery at St Malachi’s. Still smoldering, but better than 100’ from the next possible thing that could burn, I figured I’d save the congregation the fire bill and didn’t call it in.

However somebody else thought better, as when I drove by at lunch the entire volunteer crew were out in full force. Now, I certainly appreciate them being there for us when we need them, but I wish I’d had the camera with me then, as it was a scene that would have split more sides than the fire department at the circus intermission. The biggest guy on the crew was on top of the tiniest ladder ever, held by some poor sap who’s getting a super soaking as they attempt to put out the smoldering trunk, and 5 or 6 of them to supervise from the wrong side of the widow maker.

“Lightning strike?” I say as a greeting.

“Definitely not, you see the ashes at the base of this thing? Someone was burnin brush and it got out of hand.”

Not one to argue with a man in uniform, I went down and let the caretaker know about the goings on. He of course didn’t know about anyone burning brush over there, but said he’d ask around.

Now, I’ve never walked up on a smoking gun like this before, but felt pretty confident in my first guess. There’s not much riding on it, as nobody’s looking for the culprit, but thought I’d put it out there for you experts to have a shot at it.
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Offline Southside

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Re: Whodunnit
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2022, 07:53:43 AM »
I have had several lightning strikes on my own farm and every time there are parts of the tree scattered for quite a distance. Big parts, well past the fall zone. 

Anything like that around? 
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Whodunnit
« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2022, 08:09:33 AM »
I had a "base" fire once too. I should have taken a picture of it, this was before cell phones.
I use to sit on the fender of the tractor and my Father would drive. I was up just a little higher than he was, so I saw it. We did some cutting in that area and there was pine slash left at the base of the tree. Looked light lighting hit the base of the tree, caught the slash on fire, that burned an area about 3 feet across and than the rain came and put it out.
It did not damage the tree.  ???
I have many lighting strike pine trees.  :o   I have seen many trees blown apart. In fact, I am cleaning one up now. 
So it could of been lighting that hit that tree.
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Offline aigheadish

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Re: Whodunnit
« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2022, 03:12:08 PM »
I'm guessing they were right by the look of the ground in the first picture. The lightning strikes I've seen (only a few) blew the tree apart, like Southside is saying, and I don't remember seeing ash like that, just some lightning exit holes around the base of the tree. Branches 10's of feet away that got blown off... 
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Offline Prizl tha Chizl

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Re: Whodunnit
« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2022, 03:53:09 PM »
Can’t say I saw anything that looked like blown apart limbs or any carnage other than what you’d expect from a tree that size doubling over and kissing the ground.

I hear you about it being a sizable burn at the base, but what my post couldn’t convey was the nature of our community. This church is largely abandoned, it is opened up for but one or two masses a year. The cemetery opens about as often, as the last of the local Irish Catholic farmers die out. There’s 350 people in our township, but there’s really only two folks that pay any interest in keeping up the old church, and one of them is so busy farming, and so close to his own end, that the maintenance is minimal. I would have brought those points up with the fire crew, but again, who wants to argue about nothing.

I did think it was cool to run across, and have only ever seen one lightning strike that I felt certain about, this one with no sign of fire, but a great big wound opened up down the length of a white pine and a blasted apart snag next to it.

Last year, the other great white oak in the churchyard succumbed to oak wilt, and it was an eerie sight all summer, the dead tree mourning front of the dying church. I see another one nearby looking sickly, and I’d like to get permission to mill it up. I’m sure someone would be happy to have a casket made from the old church oak....
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Offline KEC

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Re: Whodunnit
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2022, 09:05:33 PM »
When I was a kid there was a brush fire on the property next to our farm. The brush fire was put out, but unbeknownst to us it got into the base of a big ash tree on the property line. It burned inside the tree for several days before the tree fell in a hayfield.

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Whodunnit
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2022, 05:13:27 AM »
I had a lightning strike in a balsam fir tree at dad's house. The tree was totally in tact. It had Christmas lights on it, and the wires and lights disintegrated. It was not plugged in, this was summer. Also, it killed the apical meristem of the tree. So it destroyed the trees ability to grow new shoots and leaves. I cut it down because if there are no new leaves by 3-5 years, the needles would be all dead anyway. So no, lightning does not always blow a tree apart or even split it. ;)


Year of the strike was probably that darker ring, dark latewood.
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Offline JJ

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Re: Whodunnit
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2022, 09:11:13 AM »
I think @KEC got it.
However the fire started, it burned inside the hollow trunk until it burned through enough to fell the tree.


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