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O Christmas tree, here’s how to keep you from burning

Forgetting to water a small house plant can prove detrimental to the plant itself. But skipping watering days for natural, indoor Christmas trees can be a deadly threat for an entire household.

As the valley sheds the Thanksgiving spirit, and cooler temperatures bring an abundance of indoor pine trees, the Las Vegas Fire Department has advice on how to maintain them.

It doesn’t take much for a dry tree to catch fire, whether it’s through a common electric spark or even a static touch, noted the department, which conducted a controlled test and recorded video.

A tree that was well watered and in a home for nearly two months produced little smoke after contacting a flame. The other tree, which was in a home for two weeks, albeit not well maintained, immediately caught fire.

The city of Las Vegas shared the following safety tips:

Finding a perfect, safer tree

— Trees that sit in buckets or bowls of water while displayed for sale at nurseries are an indication that they are well maintained.

— Those with a darker shade of green, and that emit a fragrance, have residual moisture, making them good purchase candidates.

— Fresh trees should not discharge excess needles when gently pulling on a branch with a fist.

Transport and home setup

— Trees should be wrapped in a light plastic sheet when driving them home. “Exposed to wind, the tree acts like a radiator and loses its moisture,” the Fire Department said.

— Chop half an inch off the bottom of the trunk and immediately put it in a bucket of water.

— The tree should be set up away from heating or electrical devices, candles or other smoking materials.

— Carefully check Christmas lights to make sure the wiring is not frayed or broken before putting them on the tree.

— Turn off the Christmas lights before going to bed or leaving home.


— Water the tree twice a day, and don’t let it run dry. The Fire Department recommends that this occur before bedtime and again in the morning. “It is not uncommon for the tree to need no less than two gallons of plain water (with no additives) every day,” the department said.

— When water runs out, a sap seal on the bottom of the trunk can form within a matter of minutes. Once that happens, the department said, no new water will enter the tree.

— Pull on the branches daily to check for needle discharge. Take down the tree if there are excess loose needles.

— “If a tree should catch fire, leave the building immediately,” the Fire Department said. “It can consume an entire room in less than one minute.”

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com Follow on X @rickytwrites.

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