Lightning strike splits large California tree in half

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Photo by Cox Media Group National Content Desk

A large pine tree in California dramatically split in half after being hit by lightning over the weekend, authorities said.

Video in the Big Bear Lake area of the San Bernardino National Forest showed the Jeffrey pine, believed to be nearly 200 years old, catch fire after being hit by a bolt of lightning and then split at its trunk, awash in flames, KABC reported.

Michael Bogan, who filmed the scene across the way from the Big Bear Airport, said he saw the flash of lightning.

“It was a gorgeous 200+-year-old healthy tree that had an unlucky day,” Bogan tweeted.

U.S. Forest Service firefighters responded to five separate lightning strike fires on Saturday, the San Bernardino National Forest said. Because of its size and for safety reasons, the aging pine was impossible to take down, KTLA reported.

A fire crew was assigned to the area overnight as the big tree smoldered, the television station reported. Firefighters eventually cut the tree down, KABC reported.

Bob D’Angelo | Contributed

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