The 150-year-old banyan tree in Lahaina, Hawaii, is showing signs of recovery after devastating wildfires ripped through parts of the historic landmark last month.
A video posted by the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources showed the tree growing a few sprouts, providing hope of its eventual recovery.
The historic Lahaina town on Maui was devastated when wildfire burned at least 2,170 acres of land, including the banyan tree, which is considered a landmark throughout the state. Planted in April 1873, the tree now covers an entire acre on the town’s historic Front Street.
Last month, Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) said she was “optimistic” the tree would bloom again. Hirono met with arborists shortly after the wildfires, who worked to determine how the tree could be supported.
Experts told Nexstar Media Group’s KHON television station last month that crews were able to create a batch of compost that would help the soil and generate new roots for the tree. Arborists said when they applied the compost, they observed some live roots that appeared to be in good condition.
Experts said it could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years to determine if the banyan tree will soak up the nutrients.
The banyan tree was a gift from India in 1873 and was only 8 feet tall when Sheriff William Owen planted it to mark the 50th anniversary of the first Protestant mission in Lahaina, according to the Lahaina Restoration Foundation. The tree grew to stand over 60 feet high, with 48 trunks that shades over two-thirds of an acre.
The Maui wildfires are considered the deadliest in modern U.S. history, with the death toll believed to be 97 as of this week. The blaze burned through thousands of acres, damaging or destroying thousands of structures.
Some residents in Lahaina, which took the brunt of the wildfires, are still not able to return to their homes in the disaster area. Maui County officials said the area is currently impacted by ash with potentially toxic, cancer-causing chemicals, broken glass and exposed electrical wire.
The Red Cross is providing temporary housing across 40 locations in Maui, island officials said. As of Sunday, officials estimated around 7,669 people were being housed overnight at these locations.
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