07 Fraser Fir farmCertain Christmas tree species last longer and remain fresh much longer than others. Among the best is the North Carolina Fraser fir. North Carolina has an estimated 50 million Fraser fir Christmas trees growing on more than 25,000 acres. The Fraser fir is grown by 1,600 growers in the higher elevations of the Western North Carolina counties of Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, Mitchell, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey. North Carolina produces nearly 20% of the real Christmas trees in the U.S., ranking second in the nation in the number of trees harvested.

The North Carolina Fraser fir has been judged the nation’s best through a contest sponsored by the National Christmas Tree Association and chosen for the official White House Christmas tree many times. The Fraser fir is the most popular Christmas tree in North America and is shipped to every state in the U.S. and all over the world. Fraser firs have soft needles, incomparable needle retention, long-lasting aroma and more pliable yet stronger branches for even the heaviest ornaments.

Festive celebrations, flickering lights and winter greens are hallmarks of the holiday season. They also present fire risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one. The National Fire Protection Association works to educate the public about potential fire risks during the holidays. Most Christmas tree fires can be prevented. Fresh trees need water. A six-foot tree needs about 1 gallon of water every other day.

Between 2013-2017, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 160 house fires that started with Christmas trees per year. On average, one of every 52 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 135 total reported home fires, according to the NFPA. Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 44% of home Christmas tree fires.

A new Christmas tree safety system by LifeKeeper can detect low water in the tree stand and send a warning if a fire starts. The system’s low water detector is placed in the tree stand. It’ll send an audio alert and trigger flashing lights on the attached heat sensor angel if the water level gets too low. Fire officials caution homeowners to unplug tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed.

Fayetteville’s 25th Annual Grinding of the Greens Christmas tree recycling program is designed to enhance the environment. Residents are encouraged to recycle their live trees. Since 1994, the program has kept thousands of pounds of recyclable material out of landfills. This year, employees of the Fayetteville Public Works Commission, City of Fayetteville and Duke Energy Progress are partnering to turn the trees into mulch for local parks.

The City of Fayetteville will collect live trees in a special tree collection in early January. Pickups are separate from yard waste, trash or recycling collections. City residents should put their trees out for curbside collection the first of the new year. Lights, stands and trimmings should be removed from the tree. PWC and DEP volunteers will grind them into mulch at the Grinding of the Greens.

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