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Firefighters say don't burn your Christmas tree

Posted at 7:10 PM, Dec 28, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-28 19:10:00-05

Christmas is over and you may be thinking about how you’re going to get rid of your tree. One piece of advice from firefighters: be careful.

Firefighters did a demonstration showing us just how fast your holiday tree can go up in flames.

It can happen in a flash. And a fire is something you don’t want to see in your home or backyard. Palm Beach Gardens firefighters say a fire could quickly get out of control.

“There could be mini explosions and things like that,” said Jamie Ford, a fire inspector with Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue. “Also if you're going to burn it in your front or backyard, it could go over to your neighbor’s house.”

From the time firefighters lit the tree until it was fully engulfed, took less than four minutes. 

“People should not burn a Christmas tree,” said Ford. “It's a very bad idea. There's a lot of sap left in the Christmas tree which could combust or spark.”

Firefighters say as Christmas trees dry and the needles fall, people want to get them out of the house quickly. But in some towns and cities, burning them yourself is not only dangerous but requires special paperwork.

“You would have to check with the city or town you're in,” explained Ford. “A lot of times you need a burn permit and it's just unsafe.”

Firefighters say leaving your tree on the curb is a much better idea.

“Best thing to do is take it to the curbside or have a recycle center pick it up,” added Ford.

Public works officials say don’t put your tree in the garbage. Place it on the curb with regularly scheduled yard trash. And if your tree is more than 8 feet tall, cut it in half.