In December 2019, firefighters secretly saved the rare Wollemi pine from bushfires, protecting the prehistoric trees, with only 200 left in the wild.

In a lifesaving mission as dramatic as any in the months-long battle against the wildfires that tore through the Australian bush in December of 2019.

But, instead of a race to save humans or animals, a specialized team of Australian firefighters was bent on saving invaluable plant life: hidden groves of the Wollemi pine, a prehistoric tree species that has outlived the dinosaurs.

Wollemia nobilis peaked in abundance in prehistoric years, before a steady decline.

Today, only 200 of the trees exist in their natural environment – all within the canyons of Wollemi National Park, just 100 miles west of Sydney.

The trees are so rare that they were thought to be extinct until 1994, when David Noble, an officer with the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service, discovered an unfamiliar tree species when rappelling in the park.

The samples he brought back stumped biologists and botanists.

It was only when he returned with scientists a month later that the mystery was solved.

“When the pines were discovered in 1994, you might as well have found a living dinosaur,” it was reported.

Their exact location has been kept a secret since then to protect them from contamination, and the firefighters’ efforts to save them were kept similarly secret to protect their location.

Prehistoric Wollemi Pines Saved by Firefighters from Australia's Bushfires

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