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Dinosaur-era pines survive Australia wildfire

Wednesday, January 15th 2020, 3:31 pm - The ancient pines are often referred to as 'dinosaur trees.'

A group of Australian trees that pre-date the dinosaurs has survived the wildfires, thanks to unprecedented efforts by firefighters and the government.

The Wollemi pines -- which are often referred to as 'dinosaur trees' -- were believed to be extinct until 1994 when a group of 200 were found nestled in an undisclosed location in Wollemi National Park, northwest of Sydney.

Most of the park was damaged by the fire, but as the flames approached firefighters were dropped into the location by helicopter, where they deployed sprinklers. Water was also dropped from above by airplane.

RELATED: Australian Open players impacted by wildfire smoke

Their efforts paid off: According to Reuters, the plants survived with only a bit of charring.

"Wollemi National Park is the only place in the world where these trees are found in the wild and, with less than 200 left, we knew we needed to do everything we could to save them," Environment Minister Matt Kean said via ABC Australia.

RAIN ON THE WAY

Rain is headed to New South Wales, with upwards of 80 mm expected in some places, according to ABC Australia. While the moisture will help with fire relief efforts, the rain elevates the risk for landslides and flash floods, because charred land is less water absorbent and the fires contributed to a loss of vegetation that helps absorb and stop rainfall and debris.

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