Not a burning bush, but a goosebumps experience to see this single tree on fire far into the woods.
I usually step outside before calling it a night to breathe in the fresh air and take one last check of our property. Not for any particular reason, since I do not expect anything, but Friday evening I came out to see a single tree out in our forest burning like a fully loaded furnace with a chimney.
At first I thought it was a campfire since it was about 300 yards into the woods. This was a shock since no one should have been on our property, but then I noticed the major flame was 30 or more feet in the air!
Once I realized it was a fire out of control, the next step was to ask the fire department to come take a look. Bell Buckle first responders got there first and they called for back-up from Bedford County. (Thanks guys) I made sure they knew no lives were in danger, but none of us knew what started the fire nor if it would spread.
Luckily, the forest floor was wet from rains the night before, so even though large sparks were shooting 60 or more feet into the air, none were starting side fires. Whew, our house was up hill from there, so a spread of the fire would have in fact been an issue.
The tree was probably 100+- years old and had been slowly dying for many years. The center was hollowed out for at least the last 18 years and we presumed it provided a nice home for several generations of animals over the years.
I would estimate the trunk to be at least 36" in diameter and the opening at the base created a perfect draft for the perfect burn. Inside the tree looked like a huge blast furnace.
Debbi and I stood there until about 1:00 A.M. By that time most of the tree had come down and we could see that even the huge plumes of sparks and the burning pieces were not starting other fires so we could rest easy.
None-the-less, we checked it several times on Saturday and will continue checking several times a day until we feel sure it has extinguished. A one of a kind experience for us that had a safe ending.
We never determined the cause, so we are assuming that a lightning strike from one of the recent storms, (maybe more than a week ago) started embers inside the tree. The winds from Thursday night's storm may have whipped it into a small fire and then time took its course.