Oak Tree

The Wildlands Conservancy members gather around the champion oak tree in 2012.

The Apple Fire has caused evacuations in Oak Glen. As of 7:18 a.m., Aug. 6, the fire reached 28,085 acres and is at 30% containment.

In addition to a multitude of apple ranches and businesses in Oak Glen, The Wildlands Conservancy was especially in danger of the fire. According to TWC Marketing and Communication Director Sara Seburn, hand crews were building fire lines on the north side of Oak Glen Preserve, hoping to keep the flames away. One of the sacred things they were protecting is the centuries-old champion oak tree.

“Wildlands staff were leading hot shot crews (from Vallecito), to TWC's champion oak this morning to clear the area surrounding the tree,” said Seburn.

In a 2012 Los Angeles Times article, reporter Louis Sahagun hiked up the San Bernardino Mountains with a TWC crew to record exact measurements of the oldest live oak in existence.

The tree was nominated (and was later confirmed) for being the record-breaking top champion oak in the nation.

According to the article; the tree was 499 inches in circumference, 97 feet in height and 98 feet in average crown spread.

The tree proudly sits upon steep hillside in a narrow canyon peppered with ferns and maple and incense cedars.

“We hope the champion oak survives,” said Seburn.

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