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Demonstration: Dry Christmas trees cause house fires

tree on fire
KIFI/KIDK
ServPro demonstrates a Christmas tree fire.

POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - About 160 Christmas trees catch fire every year, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

"We've responded to disasters like this where a Christmas tree was the culprit and it creates a lot of damage very quickly," said Tyler Hargis, of ServPro in Pocatello and Blackfoot. ServPro is a disaster restoration and cleaning company.

ServPro partnered with the North Bannock County Fire District, Pocatello Fire Department and Chubbuck Fire Department to host a tree fire demonstration. The tree had been dried out and lit on fire, which took less than a minute to engulf the tree.

"Most people only have about two, two and a half minutes to get out of their homes," said North Bannock County Fire District fire chief J.R. Farnsworth.

Tree fires can cause serious damage to homes.

"You're gonna have your smoke that's going to be going everywhere in the house, it's going to be damaging everything. That fire is going to catch the rest of your house on fire really quickly," Hargis said.

Tree fires cause about $10 million in damage each year, according to the NFPA.

To avoid a tree fire, Farnsworth said to keep the tree watered daily and don't set it up by heat sources.

"Heating devices, that's one of the most common ones, to have heating devices near the Christmas trees," Farnsworth said.

Double check your light set up for frays or breaks in the string. Don't use outdoor specific lights on your tree because they can get too hot for the branches.

Keep candles away from the tree. Get rid of your tree after Christmas to avoid it drying out too much, but don't leave it in the garage or up against the house.

"That's the last thing you want on the holidays is to have your house go up in flames," Hargis said.

Emma Iannacone

Emma is a reporter for Local News 8 and KIDK Eyewitness News 3.

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