High Winds: Penn State’s ‘Old Willow’ falls, safety tips from firefighters

Local News

UPDATE: Penn State has preserved the cuttings of the tree, which will be tended to in the university’s tree nursery and replanted on campus when it is strong enough to survive. This will be the fourth generation of the original tree to take its place.

The original story can be found below.

CENTRE COUNTY, Pa. (WTAJ) — High winds have knocked down trees across Pennsylvania, and Penn State’s landmark, “Old Willow,” was one of those trees damaged.

The tree, located in front of Old Main, has fallen and is taped off while the university decides what is to come of this campus staple.

It is believed to have been planted in 1859 and replaced multiple times by its descendants. Freshman bow to this tree, as one of Penn State’s oldest living traditions.

In addition to fallen trees, firefighters have been responding to wildfires today.

“For a fire like this to start, it doesn’t take much, the winds just add to the quickness of the spread,” said Charles Salvanish, captain for the Logan Fire Company.

With dry leaves and brush from winter, combined with high winds, firefighters say it’s easy for flames to pick up.

The Logan Fire Company attended to one fire today, that they say was spotted by sparks coming from a power line.

“I know other fires in Centre County today have been started similar to this,” said Captain Salvanish. “It does cause some problems and busy days for the fire companies.”

Community members are encouraged to report any sparks or flames they may see.

If you spot a fallen power line, Captain Salvanish says, “Never drive over it. Please call 9-1-1, have them dispatch the appropriate people to call, and again, just do not run over the lines because you do not know if they’re live or not.”

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