Famous burr oak in Boone County, Missouri, known as the ‘Big Tree,’ struck by lightning


BOONE COUNTY, Mo. — A historic burr oak tree in central Missouri was struck by lightning, prompting an emergency response early Friday morning.

Boone County Fire District got the call around 9:30 a.m. when people nearby heard the crack and saw smoke coming from the national landmark.

Video shows black scarring on the massive tree trunk, which has a circumference of nearly 24-feet. White foam covered the base. Crews sprayed the tree when they arrived and found fire coming from within the trunk.

The tree, known by many as simply, “Big Tree,” is the oldest burr oak tree in the state of Missouri. It’s also tied with another in Kentucky for the largest of its kind in the country, according to the National Park Service.

The battalion chief said crews will monitor the tree for now. The tree did not lose any large limbs.

“For nearly 400 years it has stood strong, withstanding storms, droughts, floods, vandalism and the progress of humankind. It’s the McBaine Burr Oak tree,” the NPS states.

The behemoth plant stands approximately 90 feet tall with a 130-foot spread.

It’s located about 10 miles southwest of Columbia on Burr Oak Road.


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