Un-Decking the Halls

Thursday, December 27, 2012 - 1:13am

Christmas tree safety is just as important - perhaps more important - after the holidays. That's because the longer Christmas trees are in the home, the more they dry out and become fire hazards. So in addition to keeping trees well hydrated during the season, it's important to monitor the tree and dispose of it before it becomes dry enough to pose a hazard.

The most common time frame for Christmas tree structure fires are the 15 days from December 22 through January 5.

The most common causes:
? Electrical failures or malfunctions were involved in one-third of the home Christmas tree structure fires.
? A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every five of the fires.
? Candles start about nine percent of home Christmas tree fires.

When it's time to take the tree down, get it outside and away from your house. In Madison, there are plenty of options for Christmas tree disposal through the Streets Division.

Don't try to burn your tree in the fireplace. Needles and the pitch in the wood create fast-burning, fast-moving sparks that can jump right out of the fireplace and into your room, or up the chimney and onto the shingles. The combination causes flames, heat and smoke to pour out of a fireplace opening with no warning. And the fire from a Christmas tree burns so hot that you're likely to damage the firebox and the chimney.

The Streets Division has scheduled curbside pick-up of Christmas trees on January 7 and 22. Residents should:

1) Remove all tree stands regardless of whether they are metal or wood.
2) Remove all light strings, ornaments and other metal objects.
3) Remove any tree bags.
4) Place trees at the street edge only.
5) If trees become buried under snow residents are asked to dig out trees.
6) Wreaths, evergreen rope, garlands, and boughs will NOT be collected with holiday trees. These items should be placed with your tan refuse cart.

Another reminder: Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.


  • Lori Wirth(608) 266-5947