Many Iowans say it just wouldn’t be the holiday season without a real evergreen tree in the corner of the family room. Still, if those trees have been up for a few weeks now, they can pose a fire risk unless a few common-sense precautions are followed.
Fire inspector Bill Moody says to check the lights for exposed wires and never place the tree near the fireplace. With live trees, he says to always make sure they have sufficient water. Moody says when you bring it home, cut off about a half-inch from the trunk to have a fresh cut so it’ll start taking water. Check the tree daily by pulling on the needles to make sure they’re not loose and falling out.
Moody says a dry tree can be very dangerous. He says if the tree stops taking in water, it’ll become extremely flammable. There are videos that show trees can cause a room to go to "flashover" in about 90 seconds. Moody suggests you keep the tree at least three-feet from any heat source, including heating vents, radiators, and fireplaces. He recommends that Christmas lights with bad strings be thrown out, while exterior lights should only be used outside and interior lights should only be used inside.