Watering key in preventing Christmas tree fires - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Watering key in preventing Christmas tree fires

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Firefighters in Las Vegas said hydration is key in preventing blazes involving Christmas trees.

Las Vegas Fire and Rescue is giving tips on preventing incidents with the holiday centerpieces inside homes.

According to LVFR, live trees must be watered every day. About no less than two gallons of plain water is needed, officials said.

The tree trunk at the bottom of the tree must be in the water. Once it runs out, LVFR says, a sap seal forms at the bottom that keeps water from coming in. If a sap seal forms, it must be cut off from the bottom of the trunk.

Firefighters say a dehydrated tree has the most potential to catch fire than one that is well maintained. Even small Christmas lights can cause a large fire, they said.

LVFR recommends live trees be watered once in the morning and again in the evening every day.

In addition, LVFR provided these tips on selecting a tree and setting it up:

Getting A Tree

  • When selecting a tree, its appearance should be dark green and there should be some fragrance to it; this indicates there is still some moisture in the tree.
  • The trees in the lot should be sitting in a bucket or bowl that is full of water, which indicates the tree was maintained.
  • Perform a freshness test. Gently pull on a branch with a closed hand to see if needles will fall off into your hand. If needles fall off in excess, this means the tree is dead or dying and is not a good choice.
  • When transporting the tree, cover it with a light plastic sheet so the wind will not pull out any moisture from the tree. Exposed to wind, the tree acts like a radiator and will lose its moisture.
  • Once the tree arrives at its destination, cut off approximately one-half inch of the bottom of the tree trunk and then immediately put the tree in a bucket of water. This will allow water to enter the tree.
  • Prepare a place inside the building to set up the tree. The location should be away from heating or electrical devices so the tree will not dry out more quickly.

Once The Tree Is Set Up In A Building

  • Water the tree every day, even twice a day, if needed. Never let it run dry. (It is best to water the tree before going to bed, and again just before leaving for work).
  • Perform a freshness test every day. Gently pull on a branch with a closed hand to see if needles will fall off. If needles fall off in excess, this means the tree is dead and is a hazard. It should be removed.
  • Inspect all electric lighting for frayed or broken wiring before putting lights on the tree.
  • Shut off electric lighting on the tree when you go to bed or leave the home.
  • Keep the tree away from heat sources that will accelerate drying out the tree.
  • Keep smoking materials and candles away from trees.

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