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Properly dispose of your Christmas tree to prevent fires

Posted at 5:06 AM, Dec 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-27 17:08:47-05

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The Florida Forest Service is encouraging residents to dispose of their Christmas trees safely to avoid a fire hazard.

Dry limbs and needles from discarded Christmas trees can be an ignition source for fire if not properly cleared away from homes and natural areas. One way to avoid this potential fire hazard is by recycling Christmas trees.

🎄RELATED: Drop off your Christmas tree in Boca Raton

Many communities offer tree recycling services, such as curbside pick-up, recycling centers and mulching programs. Check with your local city or county government or utility service for more information about Christmas tree disposal and recycling programs.

If you have an artificial tree, you will have to dispose of it as trash with your regular trash pickup but make sure you remove all lights.

Click here for advice on properly recycling your Christmas lights and old electronics.

Some residents may choose to burn their Christmas trees. The Florida Forest Service offers the following tips for safe outdoor burning:

  • Check local ordinances for county burn bans and requirements for outdoor burning at FreshFromFlorida.com.
  • Burn only if significant rainfall has occurred in the last three or four days.
  • Never burn on dry or windy days.
  • Select a burn location that is at least 25 feet from natural areas, 25 feet from your home, 150 feet from other occupied buildings and 50 feet from any paved public roadway.
  • Remove all decorations from the tree before you burn.
  • Cut the tree into manageable sections, as necessary.
  • Clear the burn area free of other flammable materials, such as leaf litter and pine straw.
  • Keep a shovel and water hose handy in case the fire starts to escape containment.
  • Never leave a fire unattended, and make sure it is out before leaving.
  • Never burn a Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove.