Arizona Brush Fire Threatens I-17's 'Mystery Christmas Tree'

By Paul Atkinson, Steve Goldstein, Lauren Gilger
Published: Monday, August 19, 2019 - 11:23am
Updated: Monday, August 19, 2019 - 2:22pm

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Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez/KJZZ
The juniper tree north of Sunset Point rest area mysteriously decorated again for the holiday season.

STEVE GOLDSTEIN: Lauren, we almost lost a tree that brings cheer to travelers along Interstate 17.

LAUREN GILGER: I know. A brush fire threatened the “Mystery Christmas Tree.” It’s in the median between the north and southbound lanes,  about a mile north of the Sunset Point rest area. I know exactly what they're talking about there.

GOLDSTEIN: But, you know, also it isn’t really shaped like a Christmas tree. It’s an 18-foot-high juniper that’s about as wide as it is high.

GILGER: Still, for the past 35-plus years, people have been decorating this tree with festive ribbons, ornaments, even a tree topper at Christmastime. It’s currently adorned with small U.S. flags.

GOLDSTEIN: But a brush fire on Friday almost ended that tradition. Now not to fear, firefighters from the Daisy Mountain Fire and Medical Department made it in the  — Saint Nick of time. Thank you, Paul Atkinson.

GILGER: I'm just really glad you had to say that.

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