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      Christmas Is Over|What Do You Do with the Tree?

      Christmas festivities are beginning to wind down, and that means Santa has made his rounds.

      Your family has probably gathered around the tree to open their presents, but what will you do now do with the tree?

      Lieutenant Richard Alvarez with the Harlingen Fire Department warns dry tree branches and frayed lights could cause your tree to catch fire.

      The other thing is close proximity to open flames, which could mean candles or anything that is left unattended|in addition to overloading of circuits, Alvarez adds.

      Lieutenant Alvarez says the time between the day after Christmas and New Year TMs is typically when they see an increase in calls due to tree fires.

      The National Fire Protection Association TMs statistics show 240 homes are destroyed due to these fires.

      Faulty of unmaintained lights spark another 150.

      This results in $25 million in damage each year.

      Alvarez says dry trees with needles that fall easily are most likely to burn, and the result can be scary because of the characteristics of pine.

      What happens with pine is it creates its TM own oil, and the fire is a lot more intense than with other tree branches, Alvarez says.

      He says the best thing to do is discard your tree at a local recycling center to avoid catastrophe.

      So, what can you do to avoid a catastrophe? Discard your tree.

      Residents can bring them here and we collect them here and then take them to the landfill area. Or they can be placed at their home where they place their brush all year, says John Avilez with the Harlingen Recycling Center.

      He says you can drop off any trees that do not have ornaments of decorations in special bins that will be left out until around mid-January. Bins will be set out up until around mid-January.

      From there, he says, They can be cut up, used for mulch, used for gardens. We just don TMt want to let them dry out.

      Additionally, both Alvarez and Avilez warn against setting your trees on fire purposely, as this is dangerous and can even result in arrest and a fine.