Solvang Christmas Tree Burn

Solvang Christmas Tree Burn title=
Solvang Christmas Tree Burn
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By Robert Bernstein

Solvang began burning Christmas trees in an annual bonfire over 40 years ago, though it does not happen every year. Last year the area was too muddy and the trees were chipped for mulch. But this year I finally made it out to experience the burn myself!

Here are my videos and photos of the Christmas Tree Burn!

Santa Barbara County Fire officials use the burn to educate the public about how easily Christmas trees can burn. The idea is to get people to take care when it comes to keeping candles and other flames away from their trees. And to keep the tree bottom in water to keep it from drying out.

Boy Scouts were on hand to dispose of old, damaged American flags in the fire as well. Burning is considered to be the respectful means of disposal.

The event took place on the scenic grounds of Mission Santa Ines at the edge of downtown Solvang.

People began gathering before 5PM and there were food and snack vendors, including hot dogs and Danish Æbleskivers. Parks and Recreation gave out delicious popcorn for just $1/bag!

At around 5:45PM County firefighters lit individual trees with a bright red flare as a demonstration of the flammability of an individual dry Christmas tree in your home.

They then lit the huge pile of trees

My first video shows the first ten minutes of the burn

The heat was intense even at the viewing distance of the crowd. Some people could not take it and moved away.

Notice this amazing "fire tornado" at the left of this photo!

After about 20 minutes it was not quite as hot and I posed for a photo!

Here is another short video I made after it had been burning about 45 minutes


It was still plenty hot!

And the crowd was still gathered at this eerie scene that reminded me a bit of Burning Man!

There have been protests that this is not very environmentally sound. I will stay out of that debate and just say that I enjoyed the rather unique experience that is quite rare in our modern era. It may be that it is discontinued in the future, so you may want to catch it next year!

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a-1546896805 Jan 07, 2019 01:33 PM
Solvang Christmas Tree Burn

Wood burning contributes to smog and acid rain. This archaic "tradition" should be discontinued once and for all.

Kyky0902 Jan 07, 2019 04:46 PM
Solvang Christmas Tree Burn

Archaic? I think that word is a bit excessive when describing this tradition. Solvang doesn't burn Christmas trees year round. It is once a year for a couple of hours.

Flicka Jan 08, 2019 07:56 AM
Solvang Christmas Tree Burn

There always have to be critics. An annual 40 year tradition is not going to destroy the earth. What will are all the deregulations happening on the national level.

PitMix Jan 08, 2019 08:11 AM
Solvang Christmas Tree Burn

Only because it is one small community that the Air Quality people don't want to irritate. Imagine if every community across the US did this? Clearly they would have to address it then. We also let the ag people burn their waste because we don't want to irritate the family farmers. How much does that practice affect CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and is there an alternative to it? If we are going to survive then we are going to have to start making smart and responsible planning decisions that will affect long standing traditions for some people.

Jo B. Jan 08, 2019 09:45 AM
Solvang Christmas Tree Burn

Instead of continuing a tradition that is polluting the air with more smoke, try creating compost and sharing it. That would be preferable.

Factotum Jan 08, 2019 12:20 PM
Solvang Christmas Tree Burn

When trees die they release carbon into the atmosphere. When they burn they release carbon into the atmosphere. Net zro. Carbon is the building block of all organic matter; including ourselves. Burning trees is not "pollution". It is the cycle of life.

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