The Senator is dead
I live right down the road from this park. The tree was amazing. It was over 3500 years old, making it older than most religions.
At first they said it wasn't arson, but it was, we have had no lightning here for several months, but we have had plenty of light rain.
New reports appear to have a pile of burnt twigs at the base of the tree.
The park has been slated to close due to funding issues. There wasn't enough money to keep the park rangers or the visitor center so they have already closed it down.
I suspect that this large piece of land off a major road and near the site for the new light rail system was wanted by a developer. Talk was that no one was allowed to develop the land even if they closed down the park. The Senator was a national landmark and now with it gone the land could be developed.
There is a "sister" tree over 2,000 years old called Lady Liberty but it is off the beaten path and unaffected.
Free will is an illusion. People always choose the perceived path of greatest pleasure.