February 20, 2011

This article from may be a foreshadow. What do you think?

WASHINGTON – High winds have blown over the National Christmas Tree, which is lit by the president every year on the Ellipse south of the White House.

The tree blew over Saturday morning, as gusty winds whipped across the Washington area, causing several brush fires and house fires.

No one was injured when the tree toppled, D.C. Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer tells WTOP Radio.

According to the National Park Foundation website, the Colorado Blue Spruce was planted in 1978. It was 15 years old and 30 feet high when it was brought to Washington, from York, Pa. The tree is located on the Ellipse, not far from the White House and the Washington Monument.

Bill Line, spokesman for the National Park Service, says another tree will be planted in its place.

“From a timing standpoint, we were lucky in that it happened in February, which will give us more than enough time to remove what’s here and to replace it with a new tree,” Line tells WTOP reporter Max Smith. “The lighting of the National Christmas Tree ceremony, which is always in the first week of December, should go off without a hitch.”

The National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony was begun in 1923, under President Calvin Coolidge. The tree that was knocked over has been a fixture in Washington since it was planted when President Jimmy Carter was in office.

The White House Christmas tree and the tree that’s decorated in front of the U.S. Capitol are brought in from different parts of the country each year, and are not permanently planted.

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