Inside out

River view


I’ve never seen trees burned from the inside out before, and walking through the scene of the River Fire on Sacramento Bar, it seemed that almost every burned oak tree suffered the same fate. The cause of the fire is apparently still under investigation, and when I consulted Google for some explanations, I couldn’t find any satisfying answers. Many of the links suggested trees that burn from the inside out were struck by lightning. This fire happened on a warm sunny day in July — not to mention the fact that lightning would have had to strike every single tree!

Three pieces

As I moved further down my list of Google results, I found a lot of videos with melodramatic headlines and even conspiracy theories. I’m not convinced that these trees were part of some government experiment gone wrong or the result of “a directed energy weapons attack in collaboration with the new 5G network” (according to this video on YouTube).

Open arms

According to Science Alert, though fire can spread quickly when conditions are dry, if the outside of a tree is damp — likely due to rainfall — fire can start to smolder from inside its hollowed-out trunk, and, in some cases, for days.

A more sensible explanation — although we had no rainfall around the time the fire started. By the way, if you click on the above link, you can see video of trees actually burning on the inside.

Whatever the cause, it’s definitely a curious sight, so many gutted oak trees, some lying in pieces on the ground and some still standing — at least for the moment.


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