TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — State officials are encouraging Florida residents to recycle their Christmas trees if possible.

The Florida Department of Agriculture says recycling trees protects the environment and reduces the chance of starting a wildfire. The agency offers 10 tips to people wanting to burn their Christmas trees instead.

The first thing is to check local ordinances on outdoor burning to stay away from any legal entanglements. Their other recommendations include warnings about starting a fire too close to a home or forested area or lighting that match on a windy day. They suggest burning the tree after some significant rainfall has dampened the burn area and don’t leave the area until the fire is completely out.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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