PORT ISABEL, TX (KVEO)  – They may be an essential part of Christmas traditions, but they can also become your worst nightmare if left unattended. This year The Port Isabel Fire Department wanted to illustrate the dangers of dried out trees. During this report, we took all necessary safety precautions to intentionally set a natural Christmas tree on fire. DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.

Fire Marshal John Sandoval says dried up trees can become a hazard. He says, “A lot of times, people start neglecting them after the holidays, Christmas passes by and we leave them… They do go up very quickly and they are very hot burning, so we do want to make sure we take care of them after the holidays. They should not be kept more than 4 weeks.”

It takes less than a minute for a tree to completely light on fire. It may take longer for a synthetic tree as some have flame retardant material.

“Flame retardant doesn’t mean fire resistant,” says Sandoval, “they can still potentially catch on fire. They are not as susceptible as a dried-out tree, but caution should be taken when using those as well.”

The fire marshal recommends that you turn off your Christmas lights and candles every night.

Space heaters should be kept away from beds, clothing, or anything flammable.

Sandoval says to make sure you have smoke detector in your home and make sure it’s working properly.

If you are using a power strip, make sure it has a ground fault circuit interrupter.

If a fire breaks out in your home that is too big to handle, don’t be hero. Even if you have a fire extinguisher handy.

If you are planning a trip out of town, it’s especially important that you leave your tree and appliances OFF to reduce your chances of starting an accidental fire.

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