Prevent a fire by disposing of dry Christmas trees
EUREKA, Calif. - You picked it out and made it your own with decorations, but as another holiday season passes by, Christmas trees are drying out, making them a fire hazard.
Humboldt Bay Fire Battalion Chief Kent Hulbert with Humboldt Bay Fire said once the tree begins to turn brown, it is time to dispose of it.
"Have the tree come in and celebrate Christmas and the holidays and then get rid of your tree," Hulbert said.
Hulbert has responded to many preventable fires sparked by Christmas trees. He said people stop watering their trees after Christmas, and it only takes a couple of days for the tree to dry out.
"It is a fire hazard at this point," Hulbert said. "A lot of people have electrical lights on their tree and we do see trees catching on fire around this time of the year."
He said once a tree catches a spark, flames will engulf it in seconds. He said common items surrounding most Christmas trees can become kindling.
"Yeah, 20 seconds and it is a done deal, especially inside an enclosed area that may be warm," Hulbert said. "The inside furnishing, so your couches and the sofas, the furniture book shells stuff like that leads to a lot of fuel loading inside the house."
Hulbert said a safe bet is to remove the tree after the holiday, but he said laying it out in the sidewalk is not a good option either. Instead, the Humboldt Waste Management Authority will take pick up old Christmas trees.
"They have a free dumpster," Hulbert said. "So you transport your own tree down there and put it in the dumpster."