Now is the time to get rid of that dried-out, browning Christmas tree, says the National Fire Protection Association.

Nearly a third of house fires in the U.S. that begin with Christmas trees occur in January, according to an NFPA news release. Though Christmas tree fires are relatively rare, they are more likely to be serious: On annual average, one of every 52 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to one death per 135 total reported home structure fires.

“Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry out,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of Outreach and Advocacy. “The longer you keep one in your home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes.”

Find holiday recycling and disposal options at the links below:

Other post-holiday fire safety tips courtesy NFPA:

  • Use the gripping area on the plug when unplugging electrical decorations. Never pull the cord to unplug any device from an electrical outlet, as this can harm the wire and insulation of the cord, increasing the risk for shock or electrical fire.
  • As you pack up light strings, inspect each line for damage, throwing out any sets that have loose connections, broken sockets or cracked or bare wires.
  • Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap them around a piece of cardboard.
  • Store electrical decorations in a dry place away from children and pets where they will not be damaged by water or dampness.