Cutting down your own Christmas tree this year? Do this first

Posted at 12:53 PM, Nov 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-11-24 14:53:27-05

CEDAR CITY, Utah – If you are planning to cut your own Christmas tree this year, the Forest Service has some tips to keep you and your family safe.

Prepare before you leave the house:

  • Check current weather forecasts and call the ranger district for road conditions.
  • Dress appropriately and in layers for adverse weather conditions.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Get an early start; don’t get caught in the dark.

Recommended items to bring:

  • Ideally use a four-wheel-drive vehicle; bring tire chains, and a shovel.
  • Food, water, cell phone and a first aid kit. Orientate yourself to your surroundings-look for landmarks. Weather conditions change quickly.
  • Tree permit and a map for the area you are cutting.
  • Carry a flashlight, compass, whistle, lighter, knife, an axe, handsaw or hatchet.
  • Rope and a tarp for strapping your tree to your vehicle or trailer.

Reminders for when travelling on the forest:

  • Bring a forest map and stay on designated roads and trails to prevent ruts and resource damage.
  • If you go through an unlocked closed gate, please close it behind you.
  • If you PACK-IT-IN, be sure to PACK-IT-OUT.
  • Be cautious going down snow packed, icy roads that can put you at risk for getting stuck.

Tree cutting safety tips:

  • Wear eye protection and heavy gloves.
  • Decide the direction the tree will fall and make sure it is clear of people, pets and vehicles.
  • Have someone spot you while cutting and step away from the tree as it begins to fall.
  • Place the tag that comes with your permit immediately on the tree.
  • Do not cut the top of a tree off. Cut at the base and leave tree stumps no more than six inches high.
  • Scatter slash from tree cutting. Taking an armload of green branches and pine cones for decorations is acceptable.