A well-watered natural Christmas tree presents less of a fire hazard

by Marian McPherson

While some will opt for the convenience of a pre-lit faux tree this Christmas, others will revel in the delight of a fresh pine, fir or spruce. Amid all the holiday cheer, however, it’s important to understand the fire risk posed by these festive evergreens and the decor surrounding them.

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) filmed a video showing the difference between a fire starting on a watered tree versus a dry tree. While the watered tree barely smoulders, the dry tree is fully engulfed in flames in less than 20 seconds. By the one-minute mark, the fire has spread to other areas of the room, destroying everything in its path.

Here are 10 ways NFPA says homeowners can prevent decoration fires:

• Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

• Before placing the tree in the stand, cut two inches from the base of the trunk.

• Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

• Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

• Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

• Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.

• Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of light strands to connect.

• Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

• Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

• Get rid of the tree after Christmas. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home.

— Inman News.