We've all heard the warnings: No matter how it pains you to say goodbye to the holidays for a long, loveless January, do not leave your Christmas tree up as a symbol of denial. L.A. County and City officials go to great lengths, each year, to make the disposal process as painless as possible, offering dump spots and various ways of recycling your tree.

But there will always be those of us who, whether out of sheer laziness or lingering nostalgia…

… will wait until maybe mid-January to do the deed. (Or, like, March, for college kids and hoarders.) Here's why that's possibly the worst idea ever, via the LA Daily News:

Investigators Saturday picked through the blackened interior of a 5,500-square-foot Sherman Oaks home that went up in flames Friday night after a Christmas tree caught fire just before a family's planned Armenian Christmas celebration.

As noted, there are extenuating circumstances to this particular fire: The Satanyan family was planning a party of January 6, “the day that Eastern Christian churches celebrate Christmas.” Our deepest condolences for their loss.

Point is, though, that their extended holiday didn't correlate so well with the rules of dried-out Christmas trees. And the L.A. City Fire Department is taking this opportunity to dangle the disaster as a warning to all those whose trees are still turning crispy in the living room, probably not out of religious necessity:

“Firefighters urged people to get dried-out Christmas trees out of their homes,” reports the Daily News.

Thankfully, the entire Satanyan family escaped unscathed, but their classic Sherman Oaks mansion — gutted of its elegant furniture, pictured in a massive charred pile on the patio — wasn't so lucky. (And according to Encino Patch, one firefighter was slightly injured in the save.)

If the annual warnings from emergency responders and city officials aren't enough to kick the Christmas cleanup laggers into gear, we're thinking maybe the coal-black death cloud over what was once a gorgeous Valley specimen might do the trick. More pictures at both the Daily News and Patch.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

LA Weekly