Christmas trees could cause holiday tragedy - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Christmas trees could cause holiday tragedy

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December 10, 2004

Lowndes County - In less than 60 seconds, a tall and stately Blue Spruce transforms into a skeleton of charred needles. And if you don't take good care of your Christmas tree, it could cause a holiday tragedy.

Safety starts as soon as you get your tree home. You should cut at least a one inch wedge off the bottom of the trunk. "By cutting the wedge off, you're opening all the pores of the tree so it can drink up the water and stay fresh for you," said Lowndes County Fire Chief Jim Fielding.

A dying tree burns easier than a lively one, so the key to preventing Christmas tree fires is keeping your tree fresh. This means giving it lots and lots of water....and making sure the tree stand is filled to the top every day. "We filled this one up yesterday and you can see its already starting to drink itself down," said Fielding.

And there's a simple way to tell if your tree is healthy. "Pick through the needles like and if they fall off, you're tree's dying," said Fielding.

We all love to cover our trees with lots of lights, but sometimes they can be dangerous. You should always check your wiring when you're putting the lights up and taking them off the tree, and replace the lights about every three years. "We recommend low voltage lights like these small ones, they produce a lot less heat," said Fielding.

Always unplug your lights if you're leaving your home and when you go to bed. And the size of your extension cord is crucial. "Make sure you've got a large enough extension cord to pull the power off your lights," said Fielding.

A few simple ways to keep your Christmas from going up in flames.

posted at 3:50 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com