How to care for, dispose of real Christmas trees after holidays

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CENTRAL ILLINOIS (WCIA) — The gifts under the Christmas tree have all been unwrapped, but many families still have their trees, real and artificial, set up.

The Champaign Fire Department said that people with real trees should continue to water them if they haven’t been taken down yet.

Without water, real trees will get dry and become a fire hazard. Even a day without water can turn a tree from safe to dangerous.

“They go up extremely quick when they are dry,” said Battalion Chief Andy Quarnstorm. “Fire doubles every minute. In a properly ventilated room, the room can be fully involved with in a minute. It’s a real hazard and they’re going to go up in flames long before you can do anything about it.”

The CFD said the best way to prevent a tree fire is to keep it watered and get rid of it as soon as possible. Several cities and organizations in Central Illinois are offering people a place or service to dispose of real trees.

Springfield, Champaign and Urbana are offering free tree pickups the week of Jan. 10 as long as the trees have been stripped of their stands, decorations (including lights, ornaments, tinsel and artificial snow) and other non-recyclable material.

People can also take their trees to the Landscape Recycling Center at 1210 East University Avenue in Urbana or Back4Acres at 3905 East Main Street in Danville for free disposal.

Lake Area Disposal in Springfield will also pick up trees after Jan. 10 if customers contact the company directly, but will charge a fee for their service.

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