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Christmas tree safety tips

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EUREKA- Christmas tree fires occur about 250 times per year throughout the country and Humboldt Bay Fire officials urge you to help prevent them by following these steps.

Fire officials recommend people use artificial trees approved by the State Fire Marshal. For natural trees, they say to cut off an inch of the trunk when you bring one home and put the tree in a sturdy base with two inches of water. Officials say to check the tree every day to make sure the water level remains at two inches. They also ask you to check light strings to make sure they are not damaged and follow manufacturer guidelines when attaching lines to each other. You should also never have candles or open flames on or near the Christmas tree and keep the tree at least three feet away from any heat source.  Lastly, you should turn the lights off when you leave home or before you go to bed. 

"When you've got a Christmas tree in a house, if it were to catch on fire, it may impede your egress out of the house.  The other thing is Christmas trees have a tendency once they start burning to create a large volume of fire in a short amount of time which can definitely lead to the rest of the house becoming involved," said Battalion Chief Chris Emmons with Humboldt Bay Fire.