• 66°

Don’t let Christmas magic go up in flames

If the almost empty Christmas tree lot on the boulevard is any indication, most Lincoln Countians already have their trees up and decorated.

Fresh trees bring a special magic that artificial trees can’t quite replicate. Along with that Christmas magic, they also bring a fire hazard into your home if they are not taken care of.

Christmas trees cause about 200 house fires per year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. These fires result in an average of six deaths per year and more than $14.8 million in property damage.

It takes a dried-out Christmas tree less than a few seconds to catch fire. Once it’s on fire, it takes less than 30 seconds for it to turn into a tower of flames reaching several feet into the air. 

Following a few common sense safety tips from the NFPA can ensure your tree and home are protected.

• Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles or heat vents.

  Use lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory — they will be marked with a “UL”. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.

  Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections.

• Never use lit candles to decorate a tree.

• Always turn off tree lights before going to bed or leaving the house.

• Keep the tree watered. A dried-out tree is a fire hazard and should not be left in a home.  A fresh tree will require daily watering.