- Department of Fire Services
Media Contact for Start the New Year off Right: Promptly Dispose of Natural Christmas Trees
Jennifer Mieth, Public Information Officer
STOW — State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said, “Start the new year off right by promptly disposing of your Christmas tree. A dried out Christmas tree will ignite quickly and spread a fire very fast.”
“Whether your tradition is to put up your Christmas tree right after Thanksgiving or just before Christmas, trees should be taken down promptly, and disposed of properly. Even a well-watered tree quickly dries out and becomes a danger,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey.
Disposal of the Tree
Take advantage of community pick-up days or recycling programs, many of which start next week. To find out if your community has a Christmas tree recycling program, contact your local public works department or recycling committee. The Mass. Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has information on Christmas tree recycling at: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2018/02/05/xmastree-recycling.pdf. Some local goat farms accept bare tree and wreath donations as they are looking for greens things to eat.
On December 18, 2018, at 2:00 a.m., the Revere Fire Department responded to a Christmas tree fire in a two-family home. The fire started in a first floor living room. Alarms were present and alerted the occupants and no one was injured at this fire. The building did not have sprinklers and damages from this fire were estimated to be $155,000.
Dried Out Trees Are Fuel for Fires Indoors and Out
Over the past few years, there have been several fires involving Christmas trees that had dried out. If trees are up early, they can dry out before Christmas. Ostroskey said, “Keep the tree watered, and away from all heat sources. After Christmas, dispose of your tree promptly. If a fire should start for any reason, a tree will help spread the fire extremely rapidly.”
State Fire Marshal Ostroskey says that disposing of Christmas trees by using gasoline or other fuels to ignite them can lead to serious burns and a potentially damaging fire. Open burning season does not start until January 15, and the use of gasoline is prohibited.
On December 27, 2018, at 5:43 p.m., the Blandford Fire Department responded to an outside Christmas tree fire. The homeowner was trying to get rid of the tree by burning it with gasoline. When he tried to ignite the tree, the gasoline fumes blew back at him causing first and second degree burns to his face.
For more information on fire safety, contact your local fire department or the Office of the State Fire Marshal at 1-877-9 NO FIRE or on-line at www.mass.gov/dfs.