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Australia firefighters save world’s only remaining ‘dinosaur trees’

CANBERRA – Specialist firefighters have saved the world’s last remaining wild stand of a prehistoric tree from wildfires that razed forests west of Sydney, officials said on Thursday (Jan 16).

Firefighters winched from helicopters to reach the cluster of fewer than 200 Wollemi Pines in a remote gorge in the Blue Mountains a week before a massive wildlife bore down, National Parks and Wildlife Service Director David Crust said.

The firefighters set up an irrigation system to keep the so-called dinosaur trees moist and pumped water daily from the gorge as the blaze that had burnt out of control for more than two month edged closer.

Firefighting planes strategically bombed the fire front with fire retardant to slow its progress.

“That helped just to slow the intensity of the fire as it approached the site,” Crust told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“The Wollemi Pine is a particularly important species and the fact that this is the only place in the world where they exist and they exist in such small numbers is really significant,” he added.

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