Watch a Christmas tree burst into flames and get tips to avoid the fire hazard

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland fire officials are warning residents to be aware of the dangers Christmas trees pose this holiday season.

That's especially true if the tree is real, not artificial, and even more so if it hasn't been watered lately.

"We haven't seen a lot of Christmas tree fires, but the ones we've seen are so hot and they move so quickly, they can be fatal and they can really wreck your holidays," said Battalion Chief Thomas Schloemer.

To show you just how quickly your tree can go up in flames, Schloemer put a live tree in a contained area, then lit it on fire.

He said they got the tree about a month ago, and never watered it.

"When that tree caught fire in less than one minute, that room would be so hot, you wouldn't be able to survive it. it gets very hot, very quickly," he said.

The tree was nearly completely destroyed in less than 60 seconds.

However, fire officials say there are steps you can take to safely and responsibly enjoy your Christmas tree:

  • Water your tree on a daily basis
  • Never decorate your tree with lit candles
  • Make sure your tree isn't blocking an exit
  • Place tree at least three feet away from fireplaces and other heat sources

When it's time to take down your tree, you should dispose of it as soon as possible.

Leaving a tree in your home or garage can be a fire hazard, especially as the tree continues to dry out.

Most cities have recycling programs, which allow you to get rid of your tree, and help the environment at the same time.

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