12/17/2014

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Don't let your Christmas tree burn down the house

Don't let your Christmas tree burn down the house
Holiday shoppers are reflected in a ornament handing from a large Christmas tree at Fashion Island shopping center in Newport Beach, Calif. (Dec. 20, 2012 file photo)
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A Christmas tree is supposed to light up the room, not burn down your house. But it happens – hundreds of times each year.

A dry tree can burst into flames, setting the room on fire in less than a minute.

If you're getting a cut tree, make sure it's fresh. A fresh tree is green. It won’t lose a lot of needles when you tap it on the ground. The needles should be green and bendable and hard to pull from the branches.

"A tree with needles that break is not fresh and you should move on to the next tree," said Kim Dulic at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Look at the bottom of the tree. It should be sticky with resin.

When you get the tree home, cut off about a half inch from the bottom and get it into water right away. Never let the tree stand go dry. If that happens, the tree will stop taking up the water.

Keep your tree away from any heat source, a fireplace, wood stove, space heater, heating vent or anything else that could dry it out.

If you're buying an artificial tree, look for "Fire Resistant" on the label. That tree can still burn, but it's more resistant to fire.

More Info:

Christmas Trees and Safety

Video: Christmas Tree Fire Demo

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