Famous tree saved from fire

Monday, 20 April, 2020

A centuries-old oak in Petersfield was saved from fire on Friday.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service was called to the tree that stands on the junction of Winchester Road and the A3 and gave the name to the Great Oak hotel.

The tree, thought to be up to 500 years old, was smouldering and throwing out a lot of smoke.

It is thought that a lit cigarette butt may have been thrown inside its hollow trunk and ignited the dead wood and dry leaves inside.

The fire fighters filled the 20-metre tree with foam and the fire was extinguished.

EHDC’s arboricultural team inspected the oak and established it was healthy and unharmed.

Cllr Ingrid Thomas, EHDC Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Quality, said: “The great oak in Petersfield is a much-loved and valuable tree and it would have been a tragedy if it had been destroyed by one carelessly discarded cigarette.

“Well done to the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and EHDC’s Arboriculturalists for saving this wonderful and popular local feature.”