GREAT FALLS — As people get into the holiday spirit and spend time with family, Great Falls Fire Rescue advises people to keep safety in mind when it comes to Christmas trees.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, an average of 160 home fires are started by Christmas trees each year resulting in an average of three deaths, 15 injuries, and up to $10 million in property damage annually.
The primary causes of such fires are lighting or electrical equipment, such as candles and heating sources.
A live Christmas tree burn that was demonstrated by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission shows how fast a dried-out Christmas tree can burn, with flashover occurring in less than one minute, as opposed to a well-watered tree which burns at a much slower rate.
When Great Falls Fire Rescue deputy fire marshal Bobbie Wiench was asked about some of the do's and don'ts in the event of a Christmas tree fire, he explained, "Don't try to put it out. You need to get you and your family out, call 911, and get yourself into a safe spot."
To prevent such a fire, he advised, "Keep your tree moist, make sure that your tree has water at all times, Also keep all heat sources away from your tree, or any other Christmas decorations that you have in your house."