The Christmas tree and your fireplace

It’s that time of year when the live Christmas tree is a fixture in living rooms across America, and we know how much thought and care has gone into selecting that perfect tree!

Well, the Chimney Safety Institute of America wants you to be as careful where you place that tree. Like all combustibles, if you use your fireplace or wood stove, observe the 3-foot Rule, so keep ornaments and branches away from the fireplace, as well as stockings. Remember, by Christmas week, trees have been up for a while and are naturally drying out, which makes them hazardous if exposed to hot temperatures and flames.

Also, if you are wondering, “Is it OK to burn my Christmas tree in a fireplace or wood stove” the answer is NO, says Ashley Eldridge, education director for the Chimney Safety Institute of America. The sap from freshly cut trees can create a rapidly burning fire hazard in your chimney or vent piping.

MORE: @PHXFire demonstrates how fast a spark can set a dry Christmas tree ablaze http://t.co/jNNoKEvHs3 http://t.co/UQB25ELCXC via @abc15

Their needles go up in a flash, creating huge, fast-burning sparks, which can fly across a room or onto the roof and set your shingles on fire. The combination causes flames, heat and smoke to possibly pour out of a fireplace opening with no warning. And flames can ignite creosote in the flue of a chimney that hasn’t been swept.

MORE: Christmas Tree Safety Fact Sheet.

[From 2007 to 2011, the NFPA reports fire departments across the country responded to an average of 230 house fires each year that were caused by Christmas trees. These fires were responsible for an average of six deaths, 22 injuries and $18.3 million in property damage annually. Read more, ‘Tis the season to think about Christmas tree safety.“]

And the fire from a Christmas tree burns so hot that you’re likely to damage the firebox and the chimney.

After the holidays, don’t throw your real Christmas tree in the trash or set it on the curb. Real Christmas trees are biodegradable, which means they can be easily reused or recycled for mulch and other purposes.


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