The annual Epiphany tree burning takes place tonight (Monday, January 6) at 6:30pm at Riverhead Beach. The town has been collecting Christmas trees for the past two weeks and piling them at Riverhead for this annual bonfire tradition.
Watching trees burn raises a number of environmental concerns but, interestingly, the bonfire is far preferable to placing them in a landfill and is pretty much net carbon neutral according to The Carbon Trust:
For a 2 metre tall real Christmas tree, with no roots, the carbon footprint is 16kg CO2e if it ends up in landfill. This is because the tree decomposes and produces methane gas, which is 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. However if you burn your Christmas tree on the bonfire, plant it or have it chipped to spread on the garden, that significantly reduces the carbon footprint by up to 80% (around 3.5kg CO2e). Burning the tree emits the carbon dioxide that it stored up when it was growing so there’s no net increase. Source: https://www.carbontrust.com/news/2013/01/christmas-tree-disposal-advice/
So head down to Riverhead tonight and enjoy this tradition under the nicest conditions we have had in a while with temperatures in the mid-30s.