PHOENIX - Her entire front yard is charred, but a Phoenix homeowner is thankful that a lightning strike narrowly missed her 150-year old Eucalyptus tree.
The tree was proclaimed a Great Tree of Arizona in 2004. It is believed to be the largest in Phoenix.
The front yard at the home on 36th Street, near Camelback Road, is filled with bushes, trees, and wildlife.
Jeanette Irwin, the homeowner, calls it her "woods."
Around 11 p.m. Wednesday night, lightning hit a smaller tree just a few feet away from the Great Tree.
The yard caught fire and spread just feet from her front door.
She had no idea there was a fire until an emergency responder pounded on her door.
A policeman walked her out to safety while firefighters worked to put out the massive flames.
Just after midnight, their work was done.
Thursday morning, Jeanette assessed the damage for the first time with ABC15.
"It could've been worse," she said. "I've been thanking God all night."
Irwin said her yard was a place of serenity for her and her grandchildren. "We called it Winnie the Pooh woods," she said.
Despite the charred debris left in her yard, Jeanette stayed in good spirits. She said what was lost can be replaced.
She's just glad she and her home are safe.
"I've never seen anything like this," she said.
The tree was slightly charred by the flames, but tree experts say it should survive.
"If the lightning had been five feet north, we would be talking about a dead tree," Steve Amelotte with the Arizona Community Tree Council said.
Amelotte said large trees like it are Valley treasures and was lucky to narrowly escape severe damage.
"It's so big and so old, and does so much to benefit the people living around here," he said.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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