Jimmy Patronis: It’s unsafe to delay the Christmas tree dismantling

Procrastination can be costly when it comes to taking down the Christmas tree.

Even if the 12 days of Christmas don’t end until the Feast of the Three Kings — Jan. 6 — don’t wait to dispose of the yuletide conifer, the state’s Fire Marshal is warning.

Pining to extend the time of indoor evergreen boughs could be disastrous — and not just for your wallet, according to a Tuesday news release from Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who is also the state’s lead Fire Marshal.

“While it may be tempting to leave the Christmas tree up a little longer this year, it is extremely important to take down your family’s tree quickly to prevent a fire-related tragedy,” Patronis said, according to a written statement from his office. “Dry Christmas trees pose a serious fire hazard and properly disposing of the tree can ensure your family and property remain safe.”

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) found that leaving a tree up past December greatly increases the chances of a fire incident. Nearly 30% of Christmas tree fires occur in January, according to NFPA research.

Home structure fires that began with Christmas trees accounted for an average of 160 fires each year between 2015 and 2019, with two civilian deaths, 12 civilian injuries and $10 million in direct costs each year.

That means procrastination can be costly. So can other decoration dismantling pitfalls. Patronis’ Office also recommends:

— Checking for local Christmas tree disposal programs. You might be able to leave it at the curb on yard waste collection day or bring the tree to specific drop-off locations for recycling. Check with your local authorities for details about what’s available. Miami-Dade County had its going the day after Christmas.

— Moving dry trees away from the house. A dry tree stored in a garage or carport, or leaned up against your home, can pose a serious fire risk.

— Using caution when burning a used tree. Also, this disposal method shouldn’t be done until after checking with local regulations because not all communities’ open burn regulations allow it. Keeping a fire extinguisher nearby is also recommended, as it is for any fire.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected]

One comment

  • cassandra

    December 30, 2022 at 8:51 pm

    Everything scares Ron & Friends! Get yourselves some rainbow fentanyl Skittles and calm down!

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