Christmas Tree Fire Safety

It is that time of year again where Houston residents go out and get trees for hanging lights and ornaments upon, stacking presents under, and curling up near with some hot cocoa or a warm drink.

Christmas trees are a time-honored tradition, but down here in the South they can also be a major fire hazard if not properly watered or attended. The primary tip for holiday safety with live trees is always water, water, water. Make sure your tree is watered daily, and check it at least twice daily to confirm.

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Residents of Cypress Creek Fire Department and Harris County Emergency Services District #13 may remember last January when we were called out to a house fire started with a dry Christmas Tree. For a refresher, follow this link:

Did you know that Christmas trees alone result in 13 million dollars, annually, in property damage? More importantly, these fires present real risk towards family and friends. When showcasing a live tree in your home, the combination of tree dryness, electrical malfunctions with lights, and poorly located heating sources can make for a deadly combination.

  • Fresh trees are less likely to catch fire, so look for a tree with vibrant green needles that are hard to pluck and don’t break easily from its branches. The tree shouldn’t be shedding its needles readily.
  • Always place your tree away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights, and keep the tree base filled with water to avoid a dry out.
  • Make sure all your indoor and outdoor Christmas lights have been tested in a lab by the UL or ETL/ITSNA for safety, and throw out any damaged lights.
  • Any lights you use outdoors must be labeled suitable for exterior placement, and be sure to plug them into a ground-fault circuit interrupter protected receptacle.
  • Keep all your holiday candles away from your Christmas tree, surrounding furniture and décor.
  • Bedtime means lights off! ­ Don’t forget to turn your Christmas tree lights off each night.

When your tree begins to drop its needles, it’s time to say goodbye to your evergreen foliage until next year. So this year, follow our guidelines to avoid being another statistic in the National Fire Protection Association or United States Fire Administration report during the upcoming holiday season.

Additional tips from FEMA regarding overall holiday fire safety:

For more information, check this safety PDF from the NFPA:

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