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Beware of Burning Wrapping Paper in Your Fireplace

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Noxious fumes or a quickly spreading fire is not what Santa ordered for you, even if you deserved coal in your stocking. As tempting as it may be, warming up to a holiday fire fumed by wrapping paper is a horrible idea, says the Los Angeles Fire Department:

Most fireplaces in Southern California are designed to use natural gas or dry firewood to support a small decorative fire that enhances ambience. Attempts to burn improper items such as scrap lumber, vegetation or even parts of a Christmas Tree can create an excessively large and hot fire that actually damages the fireplace and chimney or suddenly becomes uncontrollable. Each year, people lose their homes to such fires, which often spread quickly.

Of particular concern to Firefighters this week is the extremely unsafe practice of burning gift wrap and packaging material in a fireplace.

Burning improper items creates embers that bypass missing or damaged spark arresters. These embers cause roof and attic fires that can destroy a home and everything in it within a matter of minutes.

If you didn't give heed this year, try using a reusable bag as wrapping paper the next time you gift. It's double the present and green, all in one!
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Photo by 摩根 via Flickr