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Now's the Time: Toss Those Dry Christmas Trees

"A dried out Christmas tree can be totally consumed by fire in less than 30 seconds," the Ossining Fire Department warns.

Burned Christmas tree; Courtesy Ossining Fire Department
Burned Christmas tree; Courtesy Ossining Fire Department
It's hard to let go of that holiday cheer and toss the beautiful thing lighting up your living room. But the National Fire Protection Association warns citizens that the longer you keep that dead tinderbox in your house, the more at risk you are. 

Once you get into January, the chance of fire escalates. "Nearly 40 percent of homes fires that began with Christmas trees occurred in January," research by the NFPA shows.

“The longer they are in the home, the more dangerous they become. The continued use of seasonal lighting and dried-out trees can pose significant fire hazards in and outside the home,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “Proper disposal of the tree from your home will minimize the risk and will keep the holiday a joyful one.”

One Ossining home recently had a scare with a fire that officials say started with an unwatered holiday tree.

The Christmas tree caught fire in a Yale Avenue home Dec. 19, sending Ossining firefighters to the scene at 3:20 p.m.

Heavy smoke was coming from the rear of the two-family home when firefighters arrived, said Ossining Fire Chief Jason Lorenz.

After the fire was under control, it was determined that the fire was caused from Christmas tree in the living room. The occupants had stored the tree on a piece of wood and did not water it, Lorenz said. 

For that full story, click here
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At this point in the season, even if you are watering that tree, it's probably no longer making any difference.

Officials remind citizens to remove all decorations, tinsels and lights from the tree and drag it out to the curb for sanitation department collection as soon as possible.

"A burning tree can rapidly fill a room with fire and deadly gases," the Ossining Fire Department writes in the holiday safety section of their website. "A dried out Christmas tree can be totally consumed by fire in less than 30 seconds."

For a full list of holiday safety tips, including how to buy a healthier tree next year, visit the Ossining Fire Department page here.

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