Whether you're going Balsam Fir or Scotch Pine for your Christmas tree this year, make sure you give it water daily. If a dry tree sparks it can be reduced to ash in minutes, and Santa Claus won't be coming down the chimney with a fire hose.
As it does every December, the San Diego County Fire Protection District is once again reminding you about the fire dangers associated with our favorite yuletide house plant.
Christmas trees and decorations were responsible for an average of 790 fires every year in the U.S. between 2015 and 2019, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Those fires caused an average of 1 death, 26 injuries and $13 million in property damage.
Here are some tips from the SDCFPD you can follow to make sure you and your home don't become another statistic.
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- Keep cut trees watered to prevent drying out quickly. A dry tree can burn in less than a minute.
- Keep your tree at least 3 feet from a furnace, fireplace or portable heater.
- Prevent electrical fires by ensuring you buy holiday lights that have been tested for safety by an independent laboratory. Check for a label.
- Candles should only be placed on sturdy surfaces away from curtains or fabrics or where pets or children can reach them.
- After Christmas, put the tree out promptly for proper disposal or recycling to reduce the risk for fire.
- Inspect your lights and don’t use damaged ones. If you do buy new lights, LED lights are more fire safe.
The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department produces a new demonstration semi-annually. If the first inferno didn't make the danger clear, here's another example from 2020.
And here's another video from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission showing the difference between dry and well-watered Christmas trees catching fire.