Phoenix Fire Department encourages residents to recycle their Christmas trees - Ahwatukee Foothills News: News

Phoenix Fire Department encourages residents to recycle their Christmas trees

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Posted: Sunday, December 29, 2013 6:45 am

It takes less than 30 seconds for a dried-out Christmas tree to become fully engulfed in flames and it’s one of the quickest and most difficult fires to put out, according to the Phoenix Fire Department.

That’s why they’re encouraging anyone with a real Christmas tree in their home to get rid of it as soon as possible.

The Phoenix Fire Department held a tree burning demonstration on Thursday, Dec. 26 and showed news crews how quickly a tree can burn up. In seven seconds the flames had spread from the back of the tree to the front and in about 30 seconds the flames from the tree were reaching the ceiling and spreading to nearby furniture in the fire department’s display.

“Think about the forest fires we’ve fought this summer and the tragedies we’ve seen here in Arizona,” said Capt. Tony Mure of the Phoenix Fire Department. “That type of fuel source is in your living room. That fire gets extremely hot in 30 seconds and is fully engulfed. We strongly emphasize get these trees out of your house.”

Mure said a match burns at about 400 degrees. Burning Christmas trees can reach 700 degrees or higher.

“Because the pine needles are very spacious and they have a lot of air around it, it’s a fuel source,” Mure said. “All you need is oxygen and heat.”

The City of Phoenix has partnered with A to Z Equipment Rentals to provide free tree recycling for anyone who brings a tree to their locations. The city is also setting up tree recycling stations at several parks across the city, including Mountain Vista Park at 50th Street and Ray Road, and Desert Foothills Park at Desert Foothills and Chandler Boulevard. Trees can be brought to the park any time during regular park hours and they will be shredded and used for water retention and mulch in city parks.

Trees brought for shredding should be clear of all decorations.

For more information on ways to recycle your Christmas tree visit phoenix.gov/publicworks.

The fire department is also taking a moment this time of year to remind the public to check their smoke alarms. Smoke alarms should be tested once a month and batteries should be changed once a year.

Mure said the Phoenix Fire Department has not gotten any calls for tree-related fires so far this year, but he said it’s likely they’ll see a few in the next few weeks. Nationwide hundreds of calls are received each year about tree-related fires which can cause death, injuries and millions of dollars in property damage.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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