Doing This One Simple Thing Can Prevent Christmas Tree Fires

Image of Christmas tree on fire.Today's TMJ4

How we love to see holiday lights, candles burning bright, and the glow around Christmas trees! It’s the time of year when décor is bursting with the holiday spirit.

What’s not so lovely is when Christmas glee is turned into horror as the tree bursts into flames. In this clip, WTMJ 4 News shares a video that’s making the rounds about Christmas tree safety. What starts out as a beautifully lit evergreen can quickly turn into a fiery disaster.

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology set up this demo on how quickly a dry tree can catch on fire. As you watch this, keep in mind that these are real Christmas trees being used as examples.

Totally engulfed in flames, the dry tree gets destroyed by the fire. The flames spread throughout the rest of the room igniting everything in its path, including the little stuffed doggie perched on an armchair. Compared to the watered tree, it was a slaughter.

If you noticed, the watered tree didn’t even catch on fire. At all. That’s because it was properly hydrated. Pour generous amounts of water into your live tree so that it doesn’t get starved and turned into instant kindling.

According to the video, Christmas tree fires are rare but on average cause around 200 house fires per year. How? They’re either of electrical origin or due to heat sources being too close.

What can you do to prevent the creation of a fire hazard? Here are a few tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles.
  • Place it at least 3 feet away from a heat source.
  • Position it so it’s not blocking any exits.
  • Water fresh trees DAILY to prevent them from drying out.
  • Turn any lights off at bedtime or before leaving your home.

Live trees aren’t the only type to pose a risk. For any tree, make sure the lights are suitable for indoor use. Decorate with fire-safe ornaments and lights. Don’t crowd your outlets with too many plugs or use more than one extension cord for your outlet. Keep light strands to a max of three per cord to avoid a burnout.

With artificial trees, be sure they are flame-resistant and watch out for electric lights on metal versions. Electrocution can occur if the metal on the tree becomes charged.

Not to put a damper on your holiday cheer, but it’s that time of year when holiday décor can create unseen problems. You don’t have to have a real tree propped up in your home to take safety measures against fire. With any of these tips, you still should have a fire extinguisher handy!

Watch the video to hear what Milwaukee’s fire chief has to say about Christmas tree fires and how to prevent them. Pay attention to the tips about how to care for and dispose of your tree!

 

Do you put up a live tree or artificial one? What precautions do you take to avoid creating fire hazards?