How a live Christmas tree can go from decorative to dangerous

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash. — Christmas tree fires have proven to be extremely dangerous as recent as Tuesday’s incident at a South Hill apartment complex.

The National Fire Protection Association says to be fire smart when you have a live Christmas tree in your home.

A small fire that spreads to one can grow large very quickly.

When you pick out a tree, make sure it has fresh, green needles that don’t fall off when touched.

Before placing it in the stand when you get home, cut 2″ from the base of the trunk to allow it to absorb moisture.

Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from heat sources like fire places, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

This goes for any kind of tree, even fake ones that can release a toxic smoke when burned.

And make sure the tree is not blocking an exit in the case of a fire.

You also want to make sure you water your tree daily. A dried out tree catches fire much quicker.

When lighting your tree, make sure the lights are for indoor use and that they are working properly.

Never use candles to light your tree and turn off your indoor-use lights before going to bed or leaving home.

After Christmas, dispose of your tree, especially once it has dried out.

Rick Freier with the Spokane Valley Fire Department says the best course of action is to get out and call 911 if a tree fire breaks out to save your own life.

For more holiday safety tips, see this page on the Spokane Valley Fire Department website.