LOWNDES CO., GA (WALB) - A live Christmas tree was intentionally set on fire Wednesday morning at the Lowndes County Fire Department headquarters to demonstrate the potential dangers of having one in a home.
Even with the inherent dangers though, business is even better this year than last year at Hambrick's Tree Farm in Lowndes County, thanks, in part, to mother nature.
"We haven't had the rain over the weekends, really. That's when a lot of the business comes in; on the weekends," said Dwight Marshall, the tree farm's manager, explaining why business has been better this year.
Marshall said this weekend will likely be pretty busy, but he's expecting a big drop off after that. "It'll taper off drastically," explained Marshall, "because you're gettin' closer and closer [to Christmas]. Everybody usually already has their tree."
Once you've found the perfect festive ficus, one of the most important things to remember is to give the tree plenty of water, both for safety's sake and to keep the tree looking healthy all season long.
That's something Marshall makes sure his customer are aware of before they leave the farm.
"We try to explain real good how important it is that the water stay in there, because it can be a fire hazard if it dries out to the point that it's crispy," Marshal said.
Something Lowndes County Fire Chief Richard Guyton also emphasizes. "When you do get the tree up, make sure you keep it watered," Chief Guyton said. "Always keep the tree moist throughout the season."
That way, your home will be hopefully filled with joy this holiday season and not a raging inferno.
During the demonstration at the fire department Wednesday morning, in less than five minutes the tree and the couch placed next to the tree to simulate a typical living room setting were fully engulfed in flames. The fire reached a temperature of around 800 degrees.
Lowndes County Fire Chief Richard Guyton said they typically respond to at least one Christmas tree fire a year, and that's why he wants people to be extra cautious around live Christmas trees in homes.
"It's hard to say how many you'll have in a year, but usually you'll have one or two every year, fires that are caused by Christmas trees or Christmas decorations," said Chief Guyton.
He recommends not leaving Christmas lights plugged in on the tree overnight or when no one is going to be home. He also recommends not putting Christmas trees near windows with drapes or curtains, as the drapes or curtains could easily catch on fire.