1,000-Year-Old Giant Sequoia Falls
The Associated Press
SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP)—A 200-foot-tall giant sequoia tree fell along Sequoia National Park's main road, crushing a vehicle into a pile of crumpled metal, park officials said.
In nearby Yosemite National Park, a landmark Jeffrey pine tree that was perched atop Sentinel Dome fell to the ground some time in the last week, Yosemite National Park officials said Monday.
The giant sequoia, believed to be about 1,000 years old, fell Sunday afternoon along the Generals Highway several miles east of the Giant Forest Museum, park spokeswoman Alexandra Picavet said.
No one was injured but the Jeep Grand Cherokee was destroyed, Picavet said Monday.
The vehicle was parked in a turnout alongside the road.
"They had hiked to a waterfall close by. They said they heard this huge crash, like a sonic boom, and they saw the top of a tree going over," Picavet said. "They didn't put it together until they got back and saw it had fallen on their car."
Picavet said the tree had previous fire damage, and was half dead, contributing to the collapse.
Picavet said the road was closed for about 15 minutes while park crews and firefighters cleaned gas and oil from the road and cleared tree fragments.
She said park officials will leave the tree where it fell. The vehicle's owner had driven to California from Florida.
"This vehicle made it all the way from Florida without any problems, "Picavet said. "We're all interested to see if the insurance company treats this as an act of God."
In Yosemite, the pine that fell had been photographed by Carleton Watkins in1867 and Ansel Adams in 1940 and appears on numerous park postcards.
The tree died during the severe drought of 1976-77. Park officials said storms in the Sierra Nevada in early August may have contributed to the collapse.