Live Holiday Tree Fire Safety

Live holiday trees are showing up for sale all over our region. If you purchase one for your family, please read these very important fire safety tips to ensure your family will safety enjoy your live tree.

In the video above, the National Institute  of Standards and Technology (NIST) demonstrates the differences between a well-maintained ‘WATERED’ and ‘DRY’ holiday tree fires. Properly maintaining a cut tree is important to retaining a high moisture content in the branches and needles of the tree. This can help to limit ignition likelihood, fire growth rate, and peak fire size.

Holiday Tree Fire Safety Tips

The video above suggests that keeping your tree watered can reduce its fire risk.  The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) suggests several steps that you can take to reduce the risk of a holiday tree fire in your home.

  • Choose a healthy tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Immediately before placing a tree in its stand, cut 5 cm (2 in.) from the base of the trunk; this can help the tree to draw up water. If the cut surface is allowed to dry, it will reduce the water uptake to the tree.
  • Always keep the tree well-watered. Make sure to check the water level in the stand daily.
  • Make sure that the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source (e.g. space heaters, candles, fireplaces, heat vents, or lights).
  • Make sure that the tree does not block an exit.
  • Only use decorative lights that have the label of a recognized testing laboratory. Make sure light bulbs, strings, and connections are not broken or damaged in any way.
  • Always turn off tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Get rid of the tree after the holiday or when it is dry and keep it away from your home/garage. Of the ten days with the largest shares of holiday tree fires, none were before Christmas.

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