San Fran dousing Christmas tree fires

Jan. 4, 2013 at 8:15 PM

SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Authorities in San Francisco say they are stepping up patrols to put an end to beach-goers setting fire to their Christmas trees.

U.S. Park Police Capt. Connie Leonard said Christmas tree fires are common on Ocean Beach during January, but the practice is illegal and patrols are being increased to warn people against the practice and issue citations to those who flout the law, the San Francisco Chronicle reported Friday.

Howard Levitt, spokesman for the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, said eight people received $125 fines Tuesday evening during a large bonfire on Ocean Beach.

"Every year this issue seems to come up," Levitt said. "We'll be paying extra attention to people bringing trees to the beach. And if they're burning on the beach, they'll be cited."

Authorities said they are on the lookout for a loosely organized annual event called the Post-Yule Pyre, which is often held on Ocean Beach in early January and involves the burning of Christmas trees.

Levitt recommended people looking to get rid of their Christmas trees put them out on the curb during scheduled trash pickup days before Jan. 11. The collected trees are processed into wood chips, he said.

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