EUGENE, Ore. — There’s nothing like the fresh smell of a Christmas tree lasting until New Year’s Day, but the longer it stays up, the greater the fire hazard if the tree dries up.
From 2008 to 2012, Oregon experienced 107 fires related to Christmas trees and decorations and one death. It resulted in more than $2 million in property loss.
A tree can go up in flames within minutes.
“You’ve got highly toxic material in the smoke. One good breath of it will make you get delirious, it’s hard for you to concentrate and it may also just put you unconscious right off the bat,” says Lane Fire Authority Fire Marshal Dean Chappell.
To prevent this, water your tree daily and make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source such as a fireplace or space heater. Keep the tree 12 inches away from candles and test your smoke detectors to make sure the batteries are fresh.
When it comes to disposing of the tree, firefighters say you shouldn’t burn it up in the fireplace because it creates too much heat and could burn your house down. Proper disposal includes recycling or pickup by a disposal service.