Yesterday afternoon a powerful thunderstorm moved across Broadmoor featuring a temperature drop of nearly 30 degrees in an hour and frequent lightning.
A lone white pine in the middle of the Old Orchard Trail was struck by lightning.
Nearly every year one of the tall white pines is hit by lightning, but this tree was unusual. It had a hollowed out branch that visitors always thought should be an owl residence. No one ever saw an owl use it. It also had a hollow side branch that served as a chimney when the tree caught fire. In the picture above, the smoke on the right is coming from that branch.
Natick and Sherborn firefighters responded and tried hard to douse the fire.
The tree was completely hollow where carpenter ants had colonized the trunk.
A hole at the very bottom served as a little fire box to keep feeding the flames.
In the end, cutting the tree was the only way to extinguish the fire.
Many of us loved that tree, but its stump will remain testimony to the awesome power of nature.
Special thanks to the Natick and Sherborn firefighters, who even salvaged the kestrel nestbox from the tree trunk.