“Did you know that a dried out Christmas tree can become fully engulfed in flames in a matter of 3-5 seconds and in another 30-40 seconds everything in your room can be ablaze?” asked Unit Chief Kelly Keenan of the Amador-El Dorado Unit of Cal Fire. “A well-hydrated tree, on the other hand, is very difficult to ignite.”
Cal Fire cautioned the public about the dangers of Christmas trees, and urged safety first when bringing one into the home.
“Christmas trees cause approximately 240 house fires each year in this country resulting in $16.7 million dollars in direct property loss. Although these types of fires are not common, when they occur they are costly and often deadly,” said Keenan. “Electrical problems caused one-third of these fires so carefully check the wiring and lights, making sure the lights are UL listed before placing them on the tree.
“Another 20 percent of these fires are caused by a heat source too close to the tree so be sure your tree is not too close to your fireplace, woodstove, space heater or any other heat source,” added Keenan.
To see a short video on what a Christmas tree on fire can do, go to fire.nist.gov/tree_fire.htm.
“It is a very sobering video,” Keenan said.
For more information on other fire and life safety topics, visit the Cal Fire Website at fire.ca.gov.