Take down your old Christmas tree to avoid fire hazards

- This home in north Phoenix sits empty and boarded up.

The family room is charred and everything is destroyed. It was here on Monday when a fire sparked and burned 6-year-old Anna's hands. Phoenix fire rushed to the scene, only to find the culprits were a candle and a Christmas tree.

"We've got a tree, a live tree, it hadn't been watered, it's dried out, got an open flame next to it; that was a recipe for disaster and that's exactly what happened in this home," Capt. Rob McDade said.

Capt. McDade see situations like this every year and it's why they set up controlled burns to show the dangers of an old, dry tree. Fire spreads in seconds, sparked by a candle, a space heater or even the tree's beautiful lights.

"We have people that have had Christmas lights since the late-70s that still work," he said. "They put them on their trees, they light the big bulbs, however, that technology back then is not what we use now. They burn very hot, the lights are very warm."

So, now's the time to let go and you have plenty of options to do it.

All four A to Z Equipment Rentals locations will turn your tree into mulch for free or there's the dramatic, Chuck Norris option -- impress your friends by chopping it up yourself!

Of course, make sure you know what you're doing, but firefighters say try getting it done by this weekend.

"You've put this extra added fire hazard right there in the middle of your home," Capt. McDade said. "So, when you keep it watered and you buy at the right time it's great, but now's the time to take it down."

For a list of places to drop off Christmas trees across the Valley, click here.

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