Crack Team Worked In Secret To Save Pre-Dinosaur Trees From Mega Bushfire
Fire retardant, irrigation techniques and an army of conservation experts have helped save the wild prehistoric Wollemi Pine during a secret mission amid the Gospers Mountain megablaze.
After waiting for thick smoke to settle, firefighters and conservation specialists were thrilled to discover that they have managed to save the prehistoric Wollemi pine from going up in flames.
On Wednesday, the NSW government confirmed the wild Wollemi pines - which have grown since the age of dinosaurs - survived the megablaze after the fire was brought under control this week.
The blaze had burned for two-and-a-half months, destroying more than 512,000 hectares northwest of Sydney.
Situated deep in the Wollemi National Park, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service and NSW Rural Fire Service monitored the fire as it approached the pines, placing fire retardant and an irrigation system around each of the trees.
NSW environment minister Matt Kean said on Thursday that the organisations pulled out all the stops to protect these pines.
"Wollemi National Park is the only place in the world where these trees are found in the wild and, with less than 200 left, we knew we needed to do everything we could to save them,” Mr Kean told The Sydney Morning Herald.
They tried to keep their efforts quiet in order to avoid exposing the secret location of the Wollemi Pines. Any pathogens brought in my visitors could destroy the ancient treasures.
"When the pines were discovered in 1994, you might as well have found a living dinosaur," Mr Kean said.
Richard Kingsford, director of the Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of NSW, has described the pins as "an Opera House of the natural world".
The pines were thought to be extinct prior to the 1994 discovery.