christmas tree fire hazard

With the holiday season coming to a close, the new year is right around the corner. You may still have your Christmas tree up eagerly awaiting it to be the first of the new year to take down and dispose of your tree. Before you run and get your chain saw or the gasoline which is a fire hazard these are some things to consider:

Tree Removal

As trees dry out it has a higher chance of becoming a fire hazard. First, remove the tree stand, tree skirt, all ornaments and lights before throwing out your live Christmas tree. Have a bucket or other large container nearby to dump water that may have collected in the tree stand.

Next, use a large, plastic tree bag to cover the tree before removing it from the inside of your home. You can also use an old blanket or sheet to wrap around the tree. This will prevent needles and sap from making a mess on your carpet or hardwood floors.

Finally, carry the tree to the curb, making sure not to obstruct any roads or sidewalks. Arrange for pickup by your local yard waste management program if you don’t already have this service.

Treen Clean Up

Dry trees begin to drop their needles, creating a larger mess for you to clean up. Sweep up scattered pine needles with a broom instead of vacuuming. Needles can clog and damage vacuum cleaners.

Check for water damage to your flooring after removing the tree. Overwatering during the holidays may have caused water to spill over or collect at the base of the tree stand. If there’s water damage, clean and steam carpets to prevent mold buildup.

Recycle your Christmas Tree

Many communities offer curbside pickup of Christmas trees after the season is over. Check with your local county waste management department for specific guidelines.

General best practices include:

  • Clean the tree of all ornaments, tinsel and lights.
  • Cut the tree into 4 ft. portions for easy curb pickup.
  • Cut smaller trees into chunks to fit inside your yard waste container.

Also, check with your local recycling center for free drop-off locations. Oftentimes these centers will chip and shred your tree for use as mulch or as part of soil erosion programs. Your Christmas tree mulch can be used as an erosion barrier for lake and river shoreline management or as soft bedding for parks and playgrounds in your community.1

Fire Hazards from Burning a Tree

You may be tempted to burn your Christmas tree in your fireplace to get rid of it. This is actually dangerous and fire hazard. Some things to consider before burning a tree in your fireplace:

  • The dried needles can burn in a flash, causing a fierce fire. The needles can produce sparks that can fly into your room setting your rugs, furniture and other décor on fire. Sparks can also go up the chimney, setting your roof or landscaping on fire.
  • Firs, pines and spruces, which are some of the more popular Christmas tree varieties, all have a high sap content that can burn very quickly and explosively. These small explosions can cause items inside and outside your home to catch fire – including your chimney flue.
  • The wood from firs, pines and spruces can produce a lot of creosote, causing a buildup on chimney walls.
  • Burning a Christmas tree in a fireplace or stove with a dirty flue can cause any creosote deposits to ignite, resulting in a flue fire.
  • Because of the rapid nature of a Christmas tree fire, smoke can pour out of your fireplace with no warning, filling your home and damaging your belongings.
  • The fire from a burning Christmas tree can burn so hot that it can damage your firebox, chimney and/or flue, resulting in expensive repairs.2

In conclusion safety is a top concern at here at Restoration Authority. We hope our Christmas tree disposal tips will keep you and your family safe this holiday season.