“Make sure Christmas trees, whether real or fake, are kept away from direct heat sources,” said Pell City Fire Chief Mike Burdette. “Direct heat sources include electric heaters, portable heaters, gas logs, fireplaces and candles, but not indirect sources such as a house vent. Your Christmas tree should be at least eight feet away from direct heat sources.”
Burdette said in addition to Christmas trees, children and pets should also be kept away from direct heat sources for safety reasons.
“If you have a real tree, make sure it stays watered, I’d recommend at least once a day or more if needed, so it won’t dry out as fast,” he said. “Be sure to keep the pine needles swept up as well.”
Burdette said to check the Christmas tree’s lighting to ensure the insulation is intact and there are no nicks in the wires.
“When you take the lights down, be sure to store them properly, preferably in the original box they came in,” he said. “If they are damaged, it is better to dispose of them than to risk danger next year.”
Burdette said for real Christmas tree disposal, there are several recycling places that accept Christmas trees.
Pell City Street Superintendent Greg Gossett said residents may also bring their real Christmas trees to the city shop for disposal through Monday, Jan. 6.
“You don’t want to burn pine in a fireplace,” Burdette said. “And most cities don’t allow tree disposal along with your regular household garbage.”
Burdette said even when your Christmas tree is put away, with cold weather residents should use the manufacturer’s recommendations for spacing and ventilation for heat sources such as portable heaters.
“We have not had any Christmas tree or heating-related fires so far, and we hope it stays that way,” he said.
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