Now that the holidays are over, Anne Arundel County Executive Steven Schuh along with Fire Chief Allan Graves and Public Works Director Chris Phipps encourage all residents to promptly remove live Christmas trees from their homes.
“As we have seen over the past year, not properly handling and disposing of Christmas trees can have tragic consequences,” said Schuh. “I encourage all of our residents to take down and properly dispose of their Christmas trees now that the holiday season is over.”
“Christmas trees are flammable objects. The longer they are in your home, the more they dry out, making them a significant fire hazard,” said Chief Graves. “We encourage residents to not just remove them from inside your home, but away from your home. Just moving them to the side of the house or to a deck or garage is not enough; you need to kick them to the curb.”
Statistics from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) show that nearly 40 percent of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January. Although these fires aren’t common, when they do occur, they’re more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, as compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.
Taking down the Christmas tree isn’t nearly as much fun as putting it up. But the longer a tree stays up, the greater a fire hazard it becomes. It’s best to discard trees within one month after purchase. The following is offered by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission:
- When Christmas is over or the tree begins to drop needles, dispose of it.
- Do not leave it in the house or store it in the garage, next to the house or on or under a deck.
- Never burn Christmas trees (branches or needles) in a fireplace or wood stove. Firs and pines have lots of sap, which can burn explosively. The needles burn like tinder, quickly and fiercely. Flames can flare out of control and send sparks flying across a room. They can also ignite creosote deposits in the chimney and cause a fire in the chimney.
Residents of Anne Arundel County are encouraged to take advantage of a tree recycling program provided by the Department of Public Works. Residents should keep the following in mind:
- Natural garland, wreaths, and Christmas trees are yard waste. They are chipped into mulch, a valuable soil covering.
- Please remove tree stand, bags, metal ornament hangers, and all decorations. Cut very tall trees in half so that the tree will fit into the contractor’s truck.
- Natural garland, wreaths, and Christmas trees will be collected on your collection day.
- Yard waste is collected at the curb on your collection day all year round.
- Put your natural garland, wreaths, and Christmas trees at the curb before 6:00 AM on your collection day or bring your items to any one of our Recycling Centers.