If you need an extra reminder to toss out your old Christmas tree, here it is: experts warn that a third of all home fires involving Christmas trees actually take place in January, weeks after the holiday.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, fresh Christmas trees will continue to dry out from the moment they are cut, meaning weeks after the holiday, the trees can be the perfect kindling for a devastating fire.

“As much as we all enjoy the look and feel of Christmas trees in our homes, they’re large combustible items that have the potential to result in serious fires,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy at NFPA. “The longer Christmas trees remain in homes, the longer they present a risk.”

The NFPA is a nonprofit organization that is “devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire,” according to its website.

The organization is strongly encouraging people to discard their Christmas trees as soon as possible.

Data from NFPA indicates that 160 home structure fires each year start with a Christmas tree. Between 2016 and 2020, Christmas tree fires were to blame for two deaths, 11 injures and more than $12 million in property damage per year.

To safely dispose of a tree, you should locate your local community’s recycling program. Resources to find your nearest recycling program can be found online.

Trees should not be put in garbages or left outside and decorations should always be removed before they are discarded, NFPA says.