The Iowa Department of Public Safety hosted an event today to highlight the importance of proper care of a live Christmas tree. Radio Iowa’s Pat Curtis was there:


The demonstration involved two burn cells, each outfitted with furniture and a Christmas tree that had been cut down three weeks ago. State Fire Marshal Ray Reynolds had firefighters place a small flame on each tree.

 “One (tree) we watered extensively, as you should. The other one, we gave it no water whatsoever,” Reynolds explained.

“The trees looked almost identical, but as you can see from the burn cell test – one tree is a Charlie Brown tree and the other is still luscious and green.” Reynolds described the fir as a “Charlie Brown tree” because the unwatered tree lost all of it’s needles in the fire.

It was engulfed in flames in just a few seconds. The tree that was watered daily remained mostly intact as firefighters had a hard time even setting it on fire. Gary Harman is with the Walnut Ridge Tree Farm in Indianola.

“The water bowl should have water in it all the time,” Harman said. “Never let it go dry or let the butt of the tree out of water.” Reynolds is also encouraging Iowans who buy live Christmas trees to keep them away from candles and extension cords.