COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKBN) — Now that all the presents have been opened and the holiday season is over, the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of State Fire Marshal says it’s time to discard your Christmas tree.

“The longer trees remain in homes, the higher the fire risk,” State Fire Marshal Kevin S. Reardon said. “Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home, garage, or placed outside against the house.”

According to the National Fire Protection Association, a third of home fires involving Christmas trees occur in January as the trees begin to dry out and become fire hazards. One-hundred-sixty home structure fires began with Christmas trees from 2015 to 2019, resulting in two deaths, 12 injuries and $10 million in direct property damage.

Check with your local community to find a Christmas tree disposal program. Also, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources recommends recycling your tree as a wildlife habitat.

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious and can turn deadly very quickly

It is best to get rid of the tree after Christmas or when it is dry.