San Bernardino County Fire Officials Issue Warning Over Christmas Trees

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A Christmas tree engulfed in flames is seen in a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission video posted on YouTube on Dec. 8, 2015.

In an annual reminder ahead of the holiday, fire officials once again advised residents to properly dispose of their Christmas trees, warning that a failure to do so could lead to a house fire.

Residents should get rid of their trees after Christmas, or when they start to dry out, according to a San Bernardino County Fire Department news release.

“Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home,” the release stated.

Trees should be removed by placing a plastic tree bag underneath the stand, pulling it up around the tree and then carrying it outside, according to the department.

Safe and responsible ways to dispose of Christmas trees include curbside pick-up, dropping it off at a recycling center or cutting the tree to fit in a yard waste container. Additionally, the tree and its branches can be chipped and used as mulch.

Residents should not burn a Christmas trees in a home fireplace because they have the ability to “burn explosively.”

“The pitch in the wood creates huge, fast-moving sparks that can jump right out of the fireplace and into your room, or up the chimney and onto the shingles of your roof potentially causing a fire,” the Fire Department explained.

In the latest figures provided by the National Fire Protection Association, there were an estimated 210 home structure fires per year between 2010 and 2014 that were sparked because of Christmas trees. The fires were blamed for an annual average of six deaths, 16 civilian injuries and $16.2 million in property damage.

Click here for more information on how to safely dispose of a Christmas tree.