2 June 2003

Giant tree destroyed by fire
An independent report has confirmed Australian environmentalists' claims that fire has devastated Australia's tallest tree on the island of Tasmania.

Standing at 260 feet (79m) the massive hardwood, known as El Grande, stood unharmed by man for almost four centuries.

Forestry officials in the southern Australian state have admitted a routine burn-off went out of control.

But environmentalists have accused the authorities of being unfit to protect one of the world's most diverse rainforests.

Forestry Tasmania should do a better job of protecting the Huon pine..

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