Monday, December 17, 2007

Take Care of Your Tree for a Safe Christmas Season

Suisun City Fire Dept. urges residents to keep Christmas trees watered

SUISUN CITY — The holiday season is a wonderful time for family and tradition. But it also can be a time of unmitigated disaster when a Christmas tree is allowed to become a tinder dry fire hazard or people burn gift wrapping in their fireplace.

“Residents should have their fireplaces checked annually by a chimneysweep and never burn wrapping paper,” Suisun City Fire Chief Mike O’Brien said. “It doesn’t take much for tragedy to strike. Fortunately, most problems are absolutely avoidable if residents just follow a few simple steps.”

Wrapping paper should be bundled for recycling or placed in a garbage can rather than being burned in a fireplace or wood stove. Because paper burns hotter and faster than wood, large amounts of burning wrapping paper can raise the temperature in a chimney significantly and ignite creosote that collects inside, Chief O’Brien said.

Here are some things all residents who enjoy live cut Christmas trees should do:
  • Use a tree stand equipped with a water reservoir and make sure to keep it watered. Live cut trees need at least a quart of water daily. If needles are falling from the tree, it is too dry.
  • Place trees away from fireplaces and wall heaters. Not only does the additional heat dry the tree faster, they are both ignition sources.
  • Don’t decorate the tree with candles or place candles near the tree.
  • Use only lights approved for indoor decorating on the tree. Inspect the wires and plugs to ensure they are in good condition and will not spark.
  • As soon as Christmas is over, get rid of the tree. It will only get drier and more dangerous the longer it stays indoors.

Disposal of tree after holiday season

To recycle your tree, remove all decorations, lights, tinsels and stands.

The Boy Scouts offers a curbside disposal service on January 6, 13 and 20. The Boy Scouts request a donation for the service of $5 for trees smaller than 6 feet, or $10 for larger or flocked trees. Call the Boy Scouts at 707-421-5308 for details.

Trees can be cut into pieces and placed in yard waste containers for pick up with regularly scheduled trash service.

Flocked trees cannot be recycled and must be taken to the landfill. Call Solano Garbage at 707-439-2800 for information.

Please do not discard your tree at any commercial/retail building, along the highway or other roadway, or store next to a home for long periods of time. Each of these is a violation of state or city codes.

As seen in the Vacaville Reporter

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