How to avoid real Christmas tree fires in your home

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LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Christmas is a time of lights, trees and celebration. But sometimes our houses can become fire hazards with the added electricity and even open flames.

Fire safety isn’t something many associates with the holidays but keeping your home and your Christmas tree from becoming a fire risk should be kept in mind every year.

“Keep it away from any heat sources if you’re using any portable heaters. They tend to dry out the tree a little faster. Don’t overload it with lights,” said Wilkes-Barre Fire Department Assistant chief Damian Lendacky.

The best way to keep your tree from turning into kindling is the most obvious, keep water in it.

In the first couple of days, it’s gonna take sometimes more than a quart every day. So they will absorb a lot of water, and that keeps them fresh.

By cutting your own tree or buying locally you can avoid trees that were cut sooner and may dry out faster.

“Actually when they get their tree here it’s a fresh cut so you have less problems. Some of them could have been cut 30 days ago if they’re on a stand. Ours you know exactly what you’re getting,” said Kathy Malak who works at Pine Tree Farms.

But the most common fire starter during Christmas is not the tree it’s power cords and outlets.

“Extension cords. Not a lot of houses have outlets close. So people tend to run extension cords and then a second extension cord. Or a big thing is surge strips or outlet strips and plugging multiple things into that,” said Malak.

Even candles have on average been responsible for more than 40 times the number of fires from Christmas trees.

“Candles are nice but they should be placed on something that won’t combust maybe a plate or special holder. Keep them away from drapes and pets,” said Lendacky.

Even if you do everything to prevent a fire Lendacky says to make sure you have working smoke detectors just in case.

Officials say that more is better when it comes to smoke detectors.

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