A family of four feels lucky to be alive after a massive tree fell next to their campsite in Goldstream Provincial Park, crushing part of their vehicle.
Family members told CHEK News they were in a tent early Thursday morning when one of them heard a crack.
“We were all asleep in the tent and we heard a cracking sound, and then a lot more cracking,” said Cassandra Elphinstone.
“My mom thought it was gunshots going off. And then I looked out the window and there was a tree falling on our car.”
She popped her head out of the tent just in time to see a tree crushing the back end of a car parked meters away.
A branch from the fallen tree even graced the edge of the tent, but no one suffered any injuries and the family says they consider themselves “all very lucky.”
“I’m happy to be alive,” said Elphinstone. “I was very glad because there’s nothing you can do to get out of the way in a tent, either, so it fell in the right place.”
The tree also narrowly missed a second car parked in the area by inches, she said.
A woman sleeping in a nearby campsite said she was also woken up by “huge crashing sounds” at around 7 am and alerted staff members at the campground’s front gate.
The car has been described as totalled.
In a statement, the Ministry of Environment said BC Parks operators regularly assess the parks for hazardous trees. “The tree that fell was assessed in the latest assessment, and had shown no outward signs indicating it was a hazard.” it said.
It continues stating the ministry has engaged a tree health specialist to conduct further assessments on the fallen tree and trees in the surrounding area to determine the reason the tree came down and whether other trees in the area are at risk.
Jared Barabash, arborist with Urban Tree Care, said although he doesn’t know the exact cause of what happened to this tree, factors like the wind storms this year, the tree being dead or dying, or a change in soil moisture could have caused it to fall down.
“Increased soil moisture could make the soil unstable,” Barabash said. “The roots are not used to that change and trees can come over.”
He added he’s seen an increase in the number of fallen trees and broken branches this year due to the wet and windy weather Vancouver Island has seen.
Barabash said this can create dangerous situations for areas close to trees.
“There’s always going to be that level of randomness and you can’t predict what every tree is going to do,” he said.
The ministry stated it has closed three adjacent campsites to this one public safety precaution, until the area is deemed safe. It added RLC Park Services is working to relocate upcoming reservations in remaining available campsites at Goldstream Park.
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