A devastating wildfire swept through California's oldest state park on Tuesday night setting historic buildings ablaze along with much of the iconic site which hosts more than 1 million visitors per year.
A California Historical Landmark established in 1902, Big Basin Redwoods State Park suffered "extensive damage" to multiple structures, including the 1930s lodge-style buildings, the nature center, campgrounds and more, according to a statement from the California Dept. of Parks and Recreation. Built by crews of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps in 1936, the park's headquarters, made with local redwood and stone, is listed with the National Register of Historic Places and it is now reportedly "almost completely" destroyed.
Damage to the coastal redwood grove with some near-2,000 year old trees at the core of the park was not disclosed. Big Basin comprises the largest continuous stand of ancient redwoods south of San Francisco; some trees reach to 300 feet tall. All visitors and staff were safely evacuated before the fire.
Fueled by conditions of the climate crisis, the current CZU August Lightning Complex Fire that damaged the park in the Santa Cruz Mountains is one of hundreds of fires sparked across California following dry lightning strikes and soaring temperatures earlier in the week. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from homes in Northern California.