Fires can ruin Christmas fun

From Christmas lights to trees, potentially hazardous items can destroy memories as fast as they’re created.

Nationally, most home fires in January are a result of Christmas trees, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

“Christmas trees can be a significant fuel source if a fire occurs in your home,” said Lorraine Carli, NFPA assistant vice president of communications, in a press release.

Most well-watered trees dry out in about one month, but the more dangerous factor is how the Christmas tree is thrown away.

“Dried-out trees burn easily and should not be left in a garage or placed against the house,” Carli said. “We recommend you remove your tree from the home and dispose of it properly as soon as your Christmas celebration ends.”

Antoinette Hastings, assistant fire marshal, worked a fire a couple weeks before Christmas that was caused by a Christmas tree.

The fire, on 33rd Street, didn’t completely ruin the family’s Christmas, thanks to Operation Santa Claus, she said, but it still caused damage.

Fires involving trees usually occur because the tree gets too dry and the heat from the electrical lights ignites it, Hastings said.

She recommends having plenty of water for the tree as a way to prevent a dangerous situation.

Outside of the house, the same hazards exist if they’re not taken care of properly.

The little twinkling lights left out past Christmas “not only aggravated your neighbors,” Carli said, “but it also leaves the wires exposed to rain, snow, cold, the sun, squirrels and birds longer,” than they should be.

Christmas lights should only be up for a short period of time, the press release stated.

“The safety standards are developed anticipating a maximum of 90 days of use per year because these decorations are considered seasonal,” said John Drengenberg, consumer affairs manager for UL, said in the press release.

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