Christmas Tree Fire Hazard Prevention – KRGV

MCALLEN People are gearing up to take down their holiday decorations. Fire officials say getting rid of your Christmas tree should be high on the list. 

City of McAllen Fire Marshal Juan Salinas says real trees pose the biggest threat, “Right after Christmas, they need to get rid of it. They need to test the limbs, if they’re brittle and get rid of them quick.”

Salinas says the longer you wait, the chances of a fire increase, “In the Latino culture, they wait until January the sixth, which is the Three King’s (Day) and that’s too long.”

He adds using old Christmas lights wrapped around a dry tree increase the chances even further, “Sometimes, they’ve been used years and years and the electrical cords are brittle and if there’s a little short there, that can cause a fire.” 

Salinas says a lot of people buy their live Christmas trees before the Thanksgiving holidays. When Christmas time rolls around the tree is already drying out. 

Rick Castro bought his tree around Thanksgiving, he takes it to the City of McAllen Recycling Center. “I bring out our Christmas tree as soon as Christmas is over and I recycle here in the City of McAllen.”

He says he does it every year to help keep the city clean, Castro says, “Yeah, I do see unwanted Christmas trees thrown on the curbs or what have you, so it’s sad.”

Luis Matos also takes advantage of the service. He says despite his best efforts his tree is already getting dry, he says, “I’ve had it for a while, kept it watered but it was already getting dry .”

Salinas says he wants to see more people utilize this service to prevent fires, “Christmas tree fires are not that common, but when they do that’s when we have casualties because it burns real fast.” 

He says no fires have happened so far, but it an accident waiting to happen. 

You don’t have to live in McAllen to take your tree to the recycling or compost center. Anyone can drop their tree off until the end of January. 

If you do decide to take your tree don’t drop it off on the curb. Also make sure the tree is clean, Renewable Resources Manger Robert Trevino says, “Make sure they’re free of the ornaments and the lights, debris free basically and drop them off and we’ll be shredding these Christmas trees at the end of January and making Christmas mulch, so it will have that nice pine smell to it.”

Christmas Tree Drop Off Locations:

City of McAllen Recycling Center

2101 N. Bentsen Rd.

8 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.

956-681-4050

Compost Facility 

5201 N. 29th St.

8 A.M. – 4 P.M.

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