It is important to take special fire-safety precautions when keeping a live tree in the house. The National Fire Prevention Association reports that an average of 230 fires start with Christmas trees every year. While this is a relatively small number for a national statistic, the danger posed by such an accident warrants caution.
Last year, for example, KARK reported on an El Dorado, Arkansas family that lost their home to a Christmas tree fire on New Year’s Eve. The tree caught fire while they slept, ignited by a small space heater. While none of the family was injured, they lost all three of their pets.
When a live tree ignites, it can quickly fill a room with flames and deadly gases. Tree fires tend to consume the ceiling of a home first, and often with violence, speed, and intensity, as seen in this video:
Below are tips to help prevent Christmas tree fires:
- When purchasing a tree, avoid those that are already losing needles, as they can easily reach a point of no return where they cannot be rehydrated
- When you set up your tree, cut two inches off its base before placing it into its stand
- Keep the tree at least three feet from heat sources such as fireplaces, heat vents, space heaters, lights and candles
- Do not overload electrical outlets, and do not connect more than three strings of lights to the same outlet
- Avoid leaving holiday lights on unattended, and throw away any lights with frayed cords or other damage
- Avoid using lit candles, and never put them on a tree
- Water your tree regularly, as a tree with a low water content is MUCH more flammable