Why your Christmas tree could be a serious fire hazard

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) – Saying goodbye to your Christmas tree may not be easy, but there’s a compelling reason to remove it as soon as possible.

Nearly one-third (31%) of all house fires in the U.S in January begin with Christmas trees.

A dried-out tree can become engulfed in flames in a matter of seconds and the longer its kept up after Christmas, the more likely it is to dry out and ignite.

The La Crosse Fire Department says because of the pandemic many people decorated their trees early this year, and as the days go by the risk of a fire increases.

“The concerning thing about Christmas tree fires, particularly though, are when they do happen they tend to be pretty dangerous,” said Community Risk Educator, Pat Corran. “They often go up very quickly, and then you have an uncontained fire. Anything you can do to get that tree out of there as quickly as possible after the holidays will reduce that risk.”

To safely dispose of your tree, The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) recommends using a local recycling program.

Tree collection in the city of La Crosse ends Saturday, Jan. 9. In order for the city to collect your tree, place it outside on your boulevard by 7 AM.

Drop-off locations are also available through Jan. 9 in La Crosse. You can dump your tree at Myrick Park in the parking lot east of the Gun Shelter, or bring it to 2000 Marco Drive, Monday-Friday between 7 am and 3 pm, next to the green recycling dumpster, place them in a pile south of the yard waste site.