burn, baby, burn

Yes, Christmas Past is now just a ghost, but the spirit of the Yule log was alive and well at the Christmas tree burning party my friends Rob and Kevin threw Saturday night. Some 50 people gathered on Dockweiler Beach at sunset to set fire to the cut conifers that had reigned over their living rooms just days before. Now dried out and denuded of their decorations, each one lit up like a Christmas tree as pyro-happy revelers threw them one after another onto the party’s towering inferno of a bonfire.

During the brief intermissions between trees, kids roasted marshmallows for s’mores and waved at the jetliners climbing into the sky from adjacent LAX while the drum circle around the bonfire banged on their bongoes (silent night it was not). With especially dehydrated trees nearly exploding into a mushroom cloud of smoke and two-story flames, the evening doubled as a lesson in fire safety for those tempted to skimp on watering next year’s Douglas firs till Santa Claus comes back to town.

holy smoke

P.S. Kids, don’t try this at home: Dockweiler Beach has designated
outdoor firepits, but burning trees in your fireplace is extremely
dangerous; dry trees can burn out of control in less than a minute and
produce residue that can catch fire inside your chimney.

Also, don’t be tempted to re-create this on your lawn. Backyard
bonfires are not just illegal in many places but also unsafe, since
embers carried by an errant breeze can spread the fire to nearby grass
or brush before you can say Father Christmas. If you don’t have a designated bonfire area near you, it’s probably best to
leave the books, flags, bras and trees be and
recycle your tannenbaum instead.

All photos by Jason Rohrbacker