Avoiding a Christmas Tree Fire: Calfire

U.S. Fire departments respond to an average of 200 home fires started by Christmas trees annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association

The holidays can be a joyous time for bringing family together and enjoying festive Christmas traditions, but a house fire can destroy all of that and more.

Calfire has some tips for keeping your fire in the hearth where it belongs.

  • Make sure to select a fresh tree with green needles.
  • Once you get the tree home, recut the trunk at least two inches above the old cut so the tree can continue to pull moisture into its foliage.
  • After the trunk is recut immediately place it in water. If the tree will be kept outside for a few days, stand it in a bucket of water until you bring it inside.
  • Check the water levels every day and never let it get below the bottom of the trunk. Flower preservatives can be added to the water to help keep the tree fresh.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any source of heat, and avoid placing either live or artificial trees near a heater, wood stove or fireplace. Keep it in the coolest place possible.
  • Choose decorations that are flame resistant or retardant.
  • Never leave a lighted tree unattended.
  • Be sure to use indoor lights inside and outdoor lights outside.
  • Make sure electrical cords don’t have frayed or cracked wires or broken sockets. Don’t repair a worn light set. Buy a new one.
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets and don’t link more than three light strands together (unless the directions indicate that it’s safe.)
  • Even a properly cared for tree will eventually die, so dispose of it promptly after the holidays.

Tip: LED lights are shatterproof, shock resistant and produce almost no heat, making them safe to touch and greatly reducing the risk of fire.

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