(WANE) – If you have a live Christmas tree, you better make sure you dispose of it properly. The Indiana State Fire Marshal is reminding Hoosiers what to do with their trees now that the holiday has ended.
Live Christmas trees can last up to one month after purchase. If tree’s needles drop, it means the tree is too dry. They are more than just a hassle to clean up, but needles can also be a fire hazard. State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson recommends removing trees from your home when the needles begin falling. All decorations need to be removed before disposing.
According to the National Fire Prevention Association, roughly one of every 32 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires. Between 2011-2015, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 200 home fires per year that started with Christmas trees. These fires caused an average of six deaths, 16 injuries and $14.8 million in direct property damage annually.
Many communities offer a disposal or pickup service for Christmas trees. Recycle Indiana has a statewide list of Solid Waste Management Programs. Allen County has 8 recycling locations from Dec. 26 through Jan. 12.
Greeson also said when traveling to dispose a tree, carefully secure the tree to the vehicle. Trees that have dried out will be very light, and branches can break easily during travel. Do not drop off artificial Christmas trees at real Christmas tree recycling events.
If disposing of a Christmas tree at home, treat the tree as garden waste. Do not lean the tree against any structures and instead place it in a designated decomposition pile. Placing the tree in a garden or backyard can provide winter shelter for birds and other wildlife. Another option is chopping the tree for firewood for summer bonfires, or indoor use next winter when the wood is properly seasoned.