Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon wants all of the city's Christmas tree vendors to warn buyers about the fire dangers of the trees. We have a thought or two on the subject as well.
If your Christmas tree is still up, you ought to get rid of it properly, like now. There is a simple rule of thumb here. If running your hand along a branch creates a cascade of falling pine needles, you've got a tree that is ready to burn with little prompting. That has occurred with surprising frequency of late.
Fires that began when dried-out Christmas trees ignited like so much seasoned kindling have claimed the lives of three children over the recent holiday season, including a 3-year-old Sylmar boy. An older brother apparently was playing with a lighted candle near the tree when it caught fire. Sixteen other people also were injured in tree-related blazes that damaged seven homes around Southern California.
Among the injured was a firefighter who was attempting to extinguish a fire in Studio City.
Requiring a safety talk by the tree sellers hardly sounds unreasonable, especially with the image of the Southern California wildfires so fresh in our minds.