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Christmas trees: safety and disposal

Posted at 11:15 AM, Dec 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-27 13:15:34-05

GREAT FALLS — You’ve trimmed the tree but is now the time to trim it down?

Great Falls Fire Marshal Dirk Johnson said the choice to branch off from your favorite fir should be based on the needs of its needles.

“If the tree’s been watered and it’s moist and the needles are still green, it’s really up to them to take it down. There’s no time frame,” Johnson said.

But if your evergreen is a never green, it’s probably time to toss the tree.

Johnson says there are three telltale signs of a faltering fir:

  • The needles will turn brown.
  • The tree will lose its needles.
  • The evergreen smell will fade.

“One of those three -- it’s definitely time to take your Christmas tree outside,” Johnson said.

However, there are some tree disposal do’s and don’ts.

Do: dispose of the tree in the dumpster or drop it off for recycling.

Don’t: lean the tree against your home or garage, as doing so creates a fire hazard.

Also, keep in mind that decorative lights can set a dry tree alight.

“You do have lights on them so there is an electrical source which causes heat and if they’re really dry there is that potential to start a fire. Or if they’re dry and they’re next your fireplace or your gas stove or baseboard heat, it’s just easier for them to start a fire when they’re dry,” Johnson said.

Click here to find out where you can dispose of your Christmas tree in Missoula.