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Prevent your evergreen from catching fire

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Many people buy cut evergreen trees during the holiday season. Well-watered trees are quite safe; however, a tree that is allowed to dry out in your home becomes a serious fire hazard. A dry tree is easily set on fire and can become a blazing torch within seconds.

To determine if a tree is too dry, grasp a tree branch with a reasonably firm pressure and pull your hand towards you, allowing the branch to slip through your grasp. If the needles fall off readily, the tree is not safe and should be removed from the house immediately. To prevent this from happening, keep the tree well watered.

Here are four tips for ensuring your cut tree remains fire safe:

• Keep the tree moist: After purchase, place it in water ensuring the cut is fresh. The container should be capable of holding at least four litres. Trees can be very thirsty; check the water at least once a day.

• Be careful where you put the tree: Hot air quickly dries it out. Keep the tree at least three feet away from heaters and open heating vents. Also, place the tree well away from any main exit paths out of your house.

• Use safe wiring: Approximately half of all Christmas tree fires are caused by an electrical malfunction. Make sure any electrical wiring in or below the tree is listed by a recognized testing laboratory and is in good working order.

• Keep a four-week limit: Don't keep the tree beyond about four weeks, as even a well-watered tree will begin to dry out significantly at this point.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!

return to Newsline #62