By Nikki Garrett Metzger
(Victor Valley)– What’s a holiday party or even the traditional Christmas morning scene itself without a beautifully decorated tree? If part of your home decorating includes a natural tree be sure to keep the tree watered.
According to statics from the U.S. Fire Administration, dried out Christmas trees account for 240 fires annually, resulting in 13 deaths and more than $16.7 million in property damage. Typically shorts in electrical lights or open flames from candles, lighters or matches start tree fires. Well-watered trees are not a problem. Dry and neglected trees can be.
The USFA and the National Safety Council recommend these tips for preventing a Christmas tree fire:
• For natural trees, keep the stand filled with water. Heated rooms dry live trees out rapidly. A tree will absorb as much as a gallon of water or more in the first 24 hours and one or more quarts a day thereafter.
• Make another fresh cut in the tree stump if a seal forms at the base. A seal of dried sap will form over the cut stump in four to six hours if water drops below the
base of the tree, preventing the tree from absorbing water later when the tree stand is refilled.
• Stand your tree away from fireplaces, radiators and other heat sources. Make sure the tree does not block foot traffic or doorways.
After the holidays are over, 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.
• 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.
• Never burn Christmas trees (branches or needles) in a fireplace or wood stove. Firs and pines have lots of sap, which can explode. The needles burn like tinder, quickly and fiercely. Flames can flare up 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.
• To dispose of your tree take it to a tree recycling center or have it hauled away by a community pick-up service.
City of Victorville residents will be able to recycle Christmas trees at the curb. Victorville Disposal, will be picking up trees at curbside on customers’ regular pick up day during the weeks of December 26th and January 4th. Flocked trees as well as natural trees will be collected. Trees more than 6 feet tall should be cut in half, and all stands, plastic bags, and decorations must be removed.
For more information visit www.VictorvilleRecycles.com
Apple Valley residents can put their tree by the curb and AVCO Disposal will pick up Christmas trees between December 27 and January 6 on regular trash service days. Visit their website for more information http://www.applevalley.org/ or call AVCO Disposal at (760) 245-8607