Protecting your home and your Christmas tree from fire danger

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The months of December through January are when firefighters see an increase in calls due to fires involving Christmas trees.

Protecting your Christmas tree and your home from potential fire danger isn’t hard.

“Whenever you put a tree up in your home, we want you to move that tree away from any heat source,” said Steve Wilch, a spokesperson with Colorado Springs Fire Department. “Whether that’s a space heater in the room, radiators, fire places especially. Make sure there is no heat source around to catch that tree on fire.”

If you’re using a real Christmas tree, cutting off two inches from the base and watering it daily helps with fire prevention.

“We always tell them to do a fresh cut because it actually helps the tree circulate water when it drinks the water in the stand,” said Matthew Haggard, a Christmas tree salesman.

Not watering your tree poses a serious threat. A dry tree can catch fire and burn faster than newspaper, engulfing a room in flames within just 30 seconds.

“If you’re tree catches on fire, the first thing you need to do is make sure you get out of the house with your loved ones, call 911 from outside of the house,” said Wilch. “It can be a matter of only a minute before it’s caught other things associated around the room on fire.”

Compared to a watered tree, the severity of burn is significantly less. Exposed wire, frayed old lights and candles are just a few hazards to keep in mind.

“We see that almost half the fire deaths due to electrical fault is usually during the months of December through March, that’s our cold weather and during the holidays,” said Wilch. “Those home electrical fires peak between midnight and six a.m.”

Meaning if you’re in bed or leaving the home, the lights should be turned off.

“When you do leave, always unplug your Christmas tree too because it helps a lot,” said Haggard. “If no one’s at home, you don’t really need the all shiny lights on.”

When it comes to artificial trees in the house, they do have a flammability factor but fire officials say compared to a real tree, they’re much harder to ignite.

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