Tips to prevent Christmas Tree fires

RALEIGH COUNTY, WV (WOAY) – Winter Weather also means Christmastime, but before you deck the halls, it’s important to know how to avoid disaster.

Christmas trees are a beautiful tradition, but they can be dangerous if you don’t take care of your real trees the right way

“Any tree that’s well taken care of is the perfect tree,” said Art Yagel, owner of Yagel Poor Farm. “We give our customers what I call an MSDS–a material safety data sheet for a cut Christmas tree. It gives families tips and information, but the biggest thing is they don’t let it dry out.”

Yagel says you should start off watering your tree multiple times each day for the first few days and once a day after that. Otherwise, it can be a disaster waiting to happen.

“Once a tree dries out, it’s extremely combustible,” said Beckley firefighter Aaron Halstead. “When you set up the Christmas tree, you should make sure any heat source is at least three feet away from the tree.”

If a tree is too close to a fireplace or heater, it could mean trouble for your family. In just seconds, the dry tree is up in flames, destroying the family room. Meanwhile, the fire on the watered tree moves much slower, giving you and your family enough time to react.

Real trees aren’t the only threat, as any tree with lights could be a danger.

“Electrical malfunctions with the lighting when you wrap your lights around [can cause a fire,]” said Halstead. “You should inspect your lights and the cords and make sure it’s not damaged in any way.”

If your tree is on fire, it’s usually best to call the fire department immediately rather than try to put out the blaze yourself.

Kassie Simmons
Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.