Italy is determined to save Patriarch, a millennial olive tree which the forest fires in Sardinia have devoured, but has mobilized tens of experts to try and recover this rare botanic antiquity. Patriarch is a wild olive, with a ten meters circumference trunk, some seventeen meters high which was almost completely destroyed by fire.
However there are still chances that Patriarch might survive says botanist Gianluigi Bacchetta. He could be mutilated and reduced to a minimum but his left side still looks with vitality and the rapid action of the firemen has been providential.
Forest fires in the Sardinia summer have charred thousands of hectares and flames reached the village of Cuglieri, in the north center of the island where Patriarch stood, among the oldest in the island.
Actually Patriarch is really Sa Tanca Manna, the name with which it has been registered in the List of Monumental Trees from the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry.
It belongs to an oleaster species which no longer exists, according to Ignazio Camarda, Head of the Botanic Department at the Sassari University. It's powerful trunk is hidden by the thick foliage, wood is still on fire, covered in very hot ashes, the stump is also burning, hard to see how it can be recovered added Camarda
However a couple of days later, the botanist offered some hope, I think it still has a vital zone.
The firemen task is essential, ensuring the soil surrounding the olive tree can be cooled and save its roots. Italy has invited its best botanists and experts to visit the Patriarch site and try to save it, while the locals have cordoned the area to keep watch and keep the curious at a distance.
Millennial olive trees exist along the Mediterranean, in Italy, Greece, Spain and are normally monumental and very beautiful. Among the most famous in Sardinia is Methuselah, considered the oldest in Europe, and which could be as much as 4,000 years old.
However fire brigades must continue working since the medium temperature in the area is 40 Celsius and gusts of wind keep the flames alive.