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The hillside behind Mack's Apples on Mammoth Road was alight with flames Saturday during the 19th annual Boy Scout Tree Burn. The Scouts collected about 400 trees this year, which residents were able to dispose of for a small donation. (APRIL GUILMET PHOTO)

It was 'Whoa, Christmas Tree' at Londonderry burn

LONDONDERRY -- Dozens of families gathered behind Mack's Apples Saturday evening to watch the 2013 holiday season literally go out in flames.

Now in its 19th year, the annual Tree Burn was hosted by Londonderry Boy Scout Troop #521 and remains one of the troop's largest fundraisers.

Initially conceived as an Eagle Scout project by the long-since-grown Drew MacCulloch, the event become a local tradition at the field behind the Mammoth Road farm market.

"There were years when we'd easily get 1,500 or more trees added onto the pile," said Ted Combes, who earned his Eagle Scout badge in 2004 and now serves on the Londonderry Budget Committee. He added: "I think more people tend to have the artificial trees these days."
This year the scouts collected just under 350 trees, with many folks stopping by to drop off their contributions shortly before dusk. Scouts collected a small fee for each discarded Christmas tree, garland and wreath, and sold homemade hot chocolate, chili and baked goods.
Assistant Scout Master Bill Perry said the money collected is put to good use.

"We use it to send our scouts to camp, to purchase new gear," Perry said. "It really helps out a lot when we go on our trips."
There are around 24 young men in Troop #521, ranging in age from 11 to 17.

Perry said plans are already in the works for next year's Tree Burn.

"We're definitely in for a big celebration," he said.

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