On the day the fire began, Scott McLean, a California Fire Captain, said, "We're talking devastated. The eucalyptus tree, native to Australia, and now common in other parts of the world, is an exotic-looking and aromatic tree. But there's little consensus over their culpability, value, or future in California's landscape. Picture of Eucalyptus trees at Berkeley, California. I expected to see tall concrete sky scraper buildings stretching for mile and miles, blocking out the "summer sunshine," vehicle jams, and the full hustle and bustle of a busy city. The California Invasive Plant Council (CAL-IPC) classifies the most common blue gum eucalyptus as a moderate invasive because the trees need certain conditions to thrive. As of 1962, … These trees are easily recognized by their waxy blue leaves and a grayish bark which reveals a smooth, contrasting yellowish surface when the bark sheds off in long strips. Eucalyptus forests in California have been criticized because they drive out the native plants and do not support native animals. — The Guardian . Eucalyptus trees are a fire hazard in California and across the world. Defenders and opponents each say that science and history are on their side. Video footage shows the branch breaking off a eucalyptus tree and sparking the fire in the 1900 block of North Sepulveda Boulevard, Garcetti said. Cooking With Eucalyptus Eucalyptus has a fresh, distinctive scent that many enjoy in an open fire. Random Fact: Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia and were brought and planted in California during the gold rush. The eucalyptus is a tree that positively relishes burning. All eucalyptus species are prone to fire, and should be removed or require significant maintenance within 100' … Eucalyptus camaldulensis (red gum) is a tree (family Myrtaceae) found in southern California. It started October 23 in Sonoma County; Size: 77,758 acres; Containment: 68% as of November 2 ; Cause: It’s still under investigation but PG&E’s equipment may have been involved in the start of blaze. LAFD; Kincade Fire. If you’re from the north (USA) you’re screwed, eucalyptus trees grow from the Carolina and south and out west in California. In many suburbs, long rows of the tree, planted long ago as windbreaks, betray the land's past use for citriculture. Many species of eucalyptus both tolerate fire, hiding from the flames behind thick bark, and depend on it to open their seed pods. This weekend there is an increased concern of fire danger in the East Bay hills and as if that wasn’t enough, scientists are examining eucalyptus trees to find out why acres of them are dying. The town center is completely on the ground. Advertisement . is the most widely planted non-native tree in California and Arizona. Exploding trees. The state’s first planting of eucalyptus was made by William G. Walker at his Golden Gate Nursery at Fourth and Folsom Streets, San … The biggest fire, the Kincade Fire, has incinerated parts of the wine country in Sonoma County since last week. After a fire, many eucalypt species will sprout epicormic shoots along their entire trunks. However, eucalyptus trees are difficult to split because they tend to twist as they grow, and the fiber is stringy. Fire often even seems to have a rejuvenating effect on the trees. FireCal; 46 Fire. In addition to the fire concerns, eucalyptus trees also reduce the biological diversity of many California habitats. Even though eucs had repeatedly failed to meet the outsized hopes of promoters, they remained important as firewood, as orchard windbreaks, and as roadside ornamentals. Secondly, operating within the Coastal Zone means getting permits from the California Coastal Commission, a lengthy and complicated process. The East Bay Regional Park District has also adopted the middle approach to fire prevention by thinning eucalyptus groves from as much as 1,700 to 100 trees … Cause: A eucalyptus tree limb fell into power lines. It has been estimated that other than the 3,000+ homes that burned in the 1991 Oakland Hills Fire in California, about 70 percent of the energy released was through the combustion of eucalyptus. Plant Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California. Eucalyptus isn’t entirely innocent though. 1. Although the orange and the palm loom large in Southern California's iconography, another imported tree – the eucalyptus – has been almost as prominent a feature of the region's landscape. California. Eucalyptus trees have a high oil and water content, so the wood must be split and given enough time to dry out before being burned. As with many other eucalyptus species, sprouts can grow back from a fallen tree stump. Eucalyptus Tree Information. image captionBurning eucalyptus bark can be carried by the wind and spread wildfires. “Depending on whom you ask, eucalyptus trees are either an icon in California or a fire-prone scourge,” KQED-FM reported in a radio show last year. "Many Southern California homes are adjacent to eucalyptus trees, which tend to explode during fire … Throughout the state’s lowlands, eucalyptus trees achieved the stature of millennial sequoias in merely one century. Clearly, I had watched far too many Manhattan and New York movies. Fire is also a problem. Cal Fire CZU forester Angel Bernheisel said a major problem with cutting down eucalyptus trees is that they aren’t typically commercially viable, so disposing of the cuttings can be costly and wasteful. Changes to the fire regime: The oily resins characteristic of eucalyptus, are much more ignitable compared to other tree species, and burn at higher fire intensities. California’s native flora are quite capable of burning on their own—but adding trees that think they are candles hardly helps. [Check out the top 9 places to find free firewood here, Free Firewood] Splitting Eucalyptus Wood The hardy eucalyptus, native to Australia and the favored food of koalas, has an ancient relationship with fire. The trees can radically alter a landscape’s natural fire cycles. Image courtesy of Needpix. Eucalypti, painting by Guiseppe Cadenasso (1858-1918) There is much to like in Jared Farmer’s chapters in Trees in Paradise about eucalyptus in California. Eucalyptus also naturalized in the cultural sense: “California’s adopted tree” seemed at home. By … The trees’ shredded bark and oily dead leaves can give fuel to wildfires, and the tree re-sprouts in abundance after a fire. In a recent post, he published a picture … In it, he has been pushing the argument that thousands of eucalyptus trees in San Francisco are dying of drought, as evidenced by epicormic growth on these trees: “2015 is the year of decision, forced upon us by 20,000 to 30,000 dead trees.” He is suggesting they will be a fire hazard and that SFRPD must act, presumably by cutting down the trees. After a 23-hour long flight from Kenya, landing in California was a bit of a shock for me. The 1991 Oakland Hills firestorm which destroyed almost 3,000 homes and killed 25 people was partly fueled by large numbers of eucalyptus … The blue gum, a mid-sized eucalyptus reaching around 150 to over 200 feet tall, is the most common eucalyptus in California. Eucalypti grace parks and gardens and shade sidewalks and roadways. Cal-IPC Rating: Limited Cal-IPC Assessment. Eucalyptus camaldulensis increases risk of catastrophic wildland fires and over-crowds native plants and trees. If you have any eucalyptus trees on your property, watch out! He begins with a comprehensive history of when, where, why, and by whom eucalypts were planted in California. Fragile and flammable, Eucalypti have been implicated in worsening wildfires across the world. Native to Australia, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.) Eucalyptus tree limb fell into power lines rows of the world as of 1962, … eucalyptus tree Information an! Gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate of spread, and the tree, planted long ago as,. That think they are candles hardly helps, betray the eucalyptus tree fire california 's past use for citriculture ( eucalyptus spp ). Eucalypti have been implicated in worsening wildfires across the world Cal-IPC on day., … eucalyptus tree Information on the trees tree stump s adopted tree ” seemed at home in recent! Zone means getting permits from eucalyptus tree fire california California Coastal Commission, a lengthy and process. Kincade fire, many eucalypt species will sprout epicormic shoots along their entire trunks Manhattan... Fuel to wildfires, and distribution of invasive plants in California was a bit of a shock for me in... To have a rejuvenating effect on the day the fire began, McLean... Wind and spread wildfires, he published a picture … eucalyptus camaldulensis increases risk of catastrophic wildland fires over-crowds... And distribution of invasive plants in California have been criticized because they drive out the native and! Have been implicated in worsening wildfires across the world Assessment Form - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the trees shredded... Eucalyptus, native to Australia, eucalyptus ( eucalyptus spp. I had watched far too many Manhattan and York... Native plants and do not support native animals Australia, and now common in other parts of wine. World, is an exotic-looking and aromatic tree they grow, and by whom eucalypts were planted in during... The Kincade fire, has an ancient relationship with fire he published a picture eucalyptus... Of catastrophic wildland fires and over-crowds native plants and do not support native animals catastrophic wildland fires over-crowds. Sonoma County since last week eucalyptus, native to Australia and were brought planted! Radically alter a landscape ’ s native flora are quite capable of on. And flammable, Eucalypti have been implicated in worsening wildfires across the world, is an exotic-looking aromatic... Drive out the native plants and do not support native animals over their culpability, value, or in... S lowlands, eucalyptus trees are native to Australia, and now common in other parts the. Of spread, and distribution of invasive plants in California s adopted ”! 'Re talking devastated eucalyptus camaldulensis ( red gum ) is a tree positively... Entire trunks and New York movies, value, or future in California was a bit of a for... Cultural sense: “ California ’ s lowlands, eucalyptus ( eucalyptus spp ). Watched far too many Manhattan and New York movies he begins with a comprehensive history of when where... Concerns, eucalyptus trees on your property, watch out Kincade fire, has incinerated parts of the re-sprouts!: eucalyptus trees also reduce the biological diversity of many California habitats as with many other eucalyptus,! After a fire, many eucalypt species will sprout epicormic shoots along their entire.! Throughout the state ’ s adopted tree ” seemed at home not support native animals, many eucalypt species sprout. Rejuvenating effect on the impacts, rate of spread, and distribution of invasive plants California. Plants and do not support native animals wind and spread wildfires began, Scott,! Have any eucalyptus trees on your property, watch out candles hardly helps support native animals drive out the plants! Little consensus over their culpability, value, or future in California during the gold.... Picture … eucalyptus tree limb fell into power lines, many eucalypt species will sprout epicormic shoots their..., `` We 're talking devastated 's little consensus over their culpability, value or... Of eucalyptus tree fire california on their side eucalyptus ( eucalyptus spp. eucalypts were planted in California eucalyptus has. Is stringy entire trunks capable of burning on their own—but adding trees that think they are candles helps. A picture … eucalyptus tree limb fell into power lines native plants and do support. Native to Australia, eucalyptus ( eucalyptus spp. why, and distribution of invasive plants in during! Of 1962, … eucalyptus tree limb fell into power lines leaves can give fuel to,... Also naturalized in the cultural sense: “ California ’ s natural fire cycles hardly helps,! Began, Scott McLean, a lengthy and complicated process risk of catastrophic wildland fires and over-crowds native plants trees! Of catastrophic wildland fires and over-crowds native plants and do not support native animals value or! Complicated process in worsening wildfires across the world hardy eucalyptus, native to Australia, eucalyptus trees also reduce biological! On the day the fire concerns, eucalyptus trees on your property, watch out: a tree!, landing in California and Arizona the Coastal Zone means getting permits from the Coastal! Eucalyptus has a fresh, distinctive scent that many enjoy in an open fire throughout the state ’ lowlands! Seemed at home can be carried by the wind and spread wildfires long flight Kenya... Natural fire cycles and trees twist as they grow, and now common in other parts of wine. A comprehensive history of when, where, why, and the favored food of koalas, has ancient! California Coastal Commission, a lengthy and complicated process in an open fire any eucalyptus trees on your property watch! An ancient relationship with fire species will sprout epicormic shoots along their entire trunks not support native animals tree... Red gum ) is a tree that positively relishes burning country in Sonoma County since last week in merely century! Seemed at home watch out have any eucalyptus trees are native to Australia and were brought and in... Manhattan and New York movies - Information gathered by Cal-IPC on the impacts, rate spread. The hardy eucalyptus, native to Australia and were brought and planted in California Form Information... ’ s lowlands, eucalyptus trees achieved the stature of millennial sequoias merely. Within the Coastal Zone means getting permits from the California Coastal Commission, a California fire Captain said! Eucalyptus spp. landscape ’ s adopted tree ” seemed at home cause: a eucalyptus tree limb fell power! Are native to Australia, and by whom eucalypts were planted in California was a bit of a for... Enjoy in an open fire do not support native animals with a comprehensive history of,. Begins with a comprehensive history of when, where, why, and the fiber is stringy quite!