Start The New Year Off Right: Safely Dispose Of Your Christmas Tree

(NOTE: The Town recently announced that Curbside Collection of Christmas Trees will begin on Tuesday, January 7, 2019.)

STOW, MA — “Start the new year off right by promptly disposing of your Christmas tree. A dried out Christmas tree will ignite quickly and spread a fire very fast,” said Deputy State Fire Marshal Maribel Fournier. “Whether your tradition is to put up your Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving or just before Christmas, trees should be taken down promptly, and disposed of properly. Even a well-watered tree quickly dries out and becomes a danger.”

Disposal of the Tree

Take advantage of community pick-up days or recycling programs, many of which start next week. To find out if your community has a Christmas tree recycling program, contact your local public works department or recycling committee. The Mass. Department of Environmental Protection has information on Christmas tree recycling at: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/02/05/xmastree-recycling.pdf. Some local goat farms accept bare tree and wreath donations as they are looking for greens things to eat.

Dried Out Trees Are Fuel for Fires Indoors and Out

Over the past few years, there have been several fires involving Christmas trees that lingered too long in homes.

“It is important to dispose of your tree promptly after the holiday. If a fire should start for any reason, a tree will help the spread extremely rapidly,” Fournier said.

On January 12, 2014, at 6:13 p.m., the Walpole Fire Department was called to a fire in a single-family home. The Christmas tree in the living room had ignited and someone had tried to push it out a nearby sliding door, where it got stuck. The fire soon spread to the roof joists. Two residents were injured. Smoke alarms had alerted the occupants to the fire. Firefighters were able to quickly knock down the fire. The home did not have sprinklers and damages were estimated to be $50,000.

The only Christmas tree fire in 2017 occurred during open burning season in April. High winds spread the outdoor fire and destroyed a shed in Barre.

Fournier added: “Discarded Christmas trees can also provide an easy fuel for arsonists. An abandoned tree is frequently attractive to vandals.”

On January 3, 2015, at 2:52 a.m., the Somerville Fire Department responded to an outdoor Christmas tree fire on the side of the road. Someone had intentionally lit the tree on fire.

For more information on fire safety, contact your local fire department or the Office of the State Fire Marshal at 1-877-9 NO FIRE or on-line at www.mass.gov/dfs.

(NOTE: The above press release is from the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services.)

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