The practice of burning holiday gift wrap and decorations in regular home fireplaces is not safe and presents a risk of dangerous fires, this according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.When burning scrap lumber, yard debris, or cut-up Christmas trees may cause a very hot large fire that often causes damage the fireplace box and chimney. These fast hot-burning fires may quickly get out-of-control and spread to other parts of the home.By burning items that are not designed to burn in a fireplace such as gift wrap creates red-hot embers that bypass damaged or missing spark arresters. The red-hot escaping embers can fall upon dried leaves and other debris accumulated on the roof casing a roof-top fire. The same embers can easily settle in nearby vegetation or trees causing fire risk. On a breezy day or evening the escaping embers can travel to neighbors’ homes and roofs.
Gift wrap comes in all colors and textures, even metallic trim and enhancements. Some gift wraps are plastic coated or metal foil coated. These specialty gift wraps can cause toxic gas when burned in a conventional fireplace or wood burning stove. The pigments in some European or Chinese gift wraps when burned become toxic if inhaled. Most American made gift wraps have gone to non-toxic inks and pigments.
Consider the possibility of accidentally spreading toxic fumes throughout your home by burning gift wrapping. Toxic fumes can cause permanent damage to lungs and nervous systems as well as sicken humans and pets. This year, don’t burn the gift wrap, dispose of it in the trash. Be safe!
Source: Los Angeles Fire Department