Firefighters offer tips to prevent Christmas tree fires

They are a staple of the holidays, but your Christmas tree can also be a serious fire hazard. Terrifying new video shows why you should keep your Christmas tree watered.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology just released new video that shows a side-by-side comparison of two trees on fire: one has been watered, the other has not.

The video shows the dry tree bursting into flames in under 10 seconds. Lieutenant Michael Ball with the Milwaukee Fire Department said "they don't happen as often as you might think, but when they do happen they lead to injury or death."

The National Fire Protection Association reports Christmas tree fires account for more than 200 home fires each year across the country. And those fires on average kill six people in the United States every year.

To help avoid a Christmas tree fire, firefighters have a few safety tips:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched
  • Make sure the tree is at least 3 feet away from any fireplaces, candles and vents
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree
  • Water your tree every day
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving your house or going to bed
  • Get rid of the tree after Christmas
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