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The Scoop

File / The Journal Gazette

Dry Christmas trees are a fire hazard

Statement issued by the Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office:

INDIANAPOLIS—Public safety officials are encouraging Hoosiers to promptly and safely dispose of live Christmas trees after the holidays.

According to the Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office, even trees that have been well watered and cared for will eventually stop absorbing water and start to dry out. A good rule of thumb is to throw out the tree about a month after bringing it home.

"Dry trees are a fire hazard and should not be left in the home, garage, or placed outside against the home," says Indiana State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson.

The Indiana State Fire Marshal's Office is a division of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS).

The Fire Marshal's office also emphasizes the importance of disposing of Christmas trees safely.

The National Fire Protection Association estimates that twenty percent of home Christmas tree fires are likely related to disposal attempts.

"Never dispose of a Christmas tree (branches or needles), by burning them in a fireplace or wood stove," says Greeson. "Fir and pine trees have lots of sap, which can explode when heated. Pine needles burn hot and fast. Flames can quickly flare out of control and send sparks flying across a room or ignite creosote deposits in the chimney and cause a chimney fire."

When your Christmas tree becomes dry and starts dropping needles, follow one of these safe and environmentally friendly methods to quickly dispose of it.

Safe Tree Disposal

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) recommends recycling real Christmas tree to create wood chips, mulch, and habitat for aquatic life.

Recycling the Tree

• Remove all ornaments, lights, tinsel, and other man-made objects.

• Carefully secure the tree to your vehicle. Trees that have dried out will be very light, and branches can break easily during travel.

• Drop off the tree at local collection events held by your solid waste management district (SWMD). Find your SWMD at

• Do not drop off artificial Christmas trees at real Christmas tree recycling events.


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