The footage shows the Jeffrey pine, believed to be at least 200 years old, on fire after the lightning strike. After a few minutes, the trunk simply splits in two, with the flaming pieces falling to either side.
The footage of the tree, across the street from the Big Bear airport, was captured by Michael Bogan, who says he saw and heard the flash of lighting. He tweeted: "It was a gorgeous 200+ year old healthy tree that had an unlucky day."
Watched an incredible scene last night @SanBernardinoNF — Jeffery pine split in two by lightning strike & trunk fire. Thanks to @R5_Fire_News folks for keeping it from spreading! #CAfire pic.twitter.com/1lgHsP56PA— Michael Bogan (@mtbogan) August 1, 2021
After putting out the flames, firefighters later cut down what was left of the tree.
Firefighters working to take down the tree near the Big Bear Airport.— San Bernardino National Forest (@SanBernardinoNF) August 1, 2021
Please stay away from the area for safety. pic.twitter.com/O0thXLp9yi
The San Bernardino National Forest fire agency said firefighters responded to five separate incidents of trees being set on fire by lightning strikes on Saturday.
Firefighters have successfully contained all 5 lightning strike single tree fires today.— San Bernardino National Forest (@SanBernardinoNF) August 1, 2021
They will continue checking the trees daily until declared controlled and out.
Firefighter pilots will also conduct daily reconnaissance flights to check for any potential holdovers. pic.twitter.com/LkVPVJ0PWE