I know, I know. It's only the first week of 2021 and we have this to worry about? Despite surviving 2020, there are some things we need to be on the lookout for in the month of January specifically. One of those things being a higher risk of house fires.

As a former Floridian, things like house fires caused by space heaters or fireplaces or anything else that involves keeping you warm were unfamiliar to me in the sense of personal experience. I heard about them happening 'up north' but in Florida...house fires were caused by things like fireworks, drug labs being built in tiny homes, and things like that (maybe that was just my neighborhood).

While most Michiganders may know not to leave their space heater running without supervision, the one risk I never thought about is that old Christmas Tree.

Scott Brooks, the fire marshal for the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, was recently quoted by WWMT News Channel 3 saying,

One in 52 house fires involving a Christmas tree has a death related to it, which is significantly more than one in every about 130 fires that are deadly without Christmas trees. The tree is fuel itself, once it’s ignited, it produces its own oxygen and makes the fire even bigger. A lot of trees like that also have presents or other debris next to it which also fuel the fire.

So, while the tree may be beautiful to look at and a symbol of happiness and hope...it's probably better to let it go sooner rather than later.

According to Scott Brooks, Kalamazoo alone experiences about 100 structure fires a year caused by cooking related kitchen fires, electrical related or unattended electrical related causes. If you'd like more information on how to protect your home from fires this year, the National Fire Protection Association offers a lot of tips. Find them here.

If you're looking for different options to dispose of your Christmas tree besides just chucking it to the curb, check this out. Kalamazoo is offering Christmas Tree Recycling. And if you live in Portage, there's a specific schedule for the city to pick up your Christmas Tree. You can find all the information below

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