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December 17, 2013 > Christmas tree fire safety urged

Christmas tree fire safety urged

Submitted By Daniel Berlant

Christmas trees are a popular holiday decoration this time of year, but fire officials warn that Californians must take several steps to ensure they donÕt become an increased fire hazard inside the home. In mere seconds, a fire can spark and quickly engulf a Christmas tree.

ÒThe holiday season brings an increase of hazards into the home,Ó said State Fire Marshal Tonya Hoover, CAL FIRE Ð Office of the State Fire Marshal. ÒThe key to a safe Christmas tree is keeping it watered and away from heat sources.Ó

Christmas tree safety begins when you purchase your tree. When selecting a tree from a sales lot, do the Òtap testÓ, lift the tree up and tap it on the ground. If any needles fall off, itÕs already too dry and you should look for another tree. Cut trees can need as much as a gallon of water a day to help keep them from drying out too fast. Having your tree located too close to heat sources dries the tree quicker, making it a greater fire hazard.

Here are some additional fire safety tips: choose a fresh tree with green needles, recut the trunk at least two inch above the old cut as soon as you get it home, keep the trunk in water immediately after it is recut, check the water levels daily, never let the water level go below the bottom of the trunk, locate any tree at least 3 feet away from sources of heat, and never place a tree where it blocks exits.

Remove the tree immediately after the holidays. Even a properly cared for live tree will eventually die. Take it to a recycle center or leave for your refuse collector. For more Christmas tree and holiday decoration fire safety tips, visit the CAL FIRE website at

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