For many years in Chatham Borough, the fire department collected Christmas trees from residents and then held a large bonfire, open to members of the community.
After a 2009 Vineland bonfire resulted in injuries for one firefighter, however, the state Forest Fire Service Division began to restrict bonfire permits.
Now, rather than having their Christmas trees collected by the Chatham Borough Fire Department, the Department of Public Works will pick up the trees.
"The classic bonfire is now a thing of the past due to strict state and environmental rules and regulations. It is no longer possible to get the required permit due to enforcement of the open burn policies and [state] regulations," said Fire Chief Peter Glogolich in an interview December 2011 interview.
Trees will be collected the first two Mondays in January and the fourth Tuesday. The dates are Jan. 7, Jan. 14 and Jan. 22.
The Tuesday collection is due to Martin Luther King Day, which falls on Monday, Jan. 21 this year.
For some fire safety tips with your Christmas tree, click here. Trees can dry out if they are not given enough water or kept close to a heating source. Christmas tree lights, especially older ones, can cause a tree to ignite if they short-circuit.