|Chimney fire with flames coming out of the top of the chimney|
When deciding what to do with a real Christmas tree this year, be sure putting it into a burning fireplace is not on the list of options. Dry pine is extremely flammable and burns very hot and fast - too fast and hot in fact for a friendly fire inside the fireplace.
Burning dry pine trees are the cause of many chimney fires each year - and many of those evolve into structural house fires. As soon as dry pine is placed on a burning fire it erupts into a ball of fire which reaches up into the flue where flammable creosote can ignite.
Chimney fires may only last a few seconds, but some can last much longer depending on the amount of fuel (creosote) inside the flue that is available to burn. The longer the fire, the higher the risk of flame escaping into the structure.
Instead, think about chopping the tree up into very small pieces to use for kindling throughout the winter. Pine is a great firestarter. An added benefit is that you can get some exercise while chopping! If chopping is not your thing, some cities offer Christmas tree pick up service, and will haul the tree off for you.
More ideas for dry Christmas trees:
- Cut the tree up into larger pieces to use in an outdoor firepit or bake oven.
- Cut the tree trunk into thin slices to make coasters. Sand smooth, and apply a coat of polyurethane to seal in sap.
- Cut the trunk into thin slices, then drill a hole near the top for string, and donate to a scout group or school for an art project.
- Use the pine needles for mulch.
- Rent a wood chipper and run the tree through it, then use the chips as mulch in the spring.
Marge Padgitt is an author and chimney professional living in Kansas City, Missouri. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.