Christmas tree dangers real vs. fake

SUGARCREEK TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN) – Most people have their Christmas tree up and decorated by now but local firefighters want to give you the gift of safety this season. That’s why we asked is there a difference between real and fake trees when it comes to fire hazards?

Decking the halls can add a little color to your home but it can also be a safety hazard.

Terry Trepanier, Sugarcreek Twp. Fire Marshal says, “Annually there are about 210 fires caused by live Christmas trees.”

No matter if you chose a real or artificial tree both have their own issues when it comes to the potential for causing fires. Terry Trepanier fire marshal with Sugarcreek Township says with live trees keeping them watered is key but there’s something you can do before you even get it in the door.

“Prior to bringing it into the home you should cut one to two inches off of the bottom it opens up the tree can suck up the tree into the trunk,” Trepanier says.

Video from the National Institute of Standards and Technology it only takes five seconds for a live tree that’s dried out to become fully engulfed. In just 30 seconds the entire room is full of smoke.

Firefighters say, While artificial trees are somewhat safer there are still a few things to keep in mind when decorating them.

“It won’t dry out on you but still can’t put it close to a heat source they do have a fire retardant into itself so they are a lot safer than a fresh tree,” says Trepanier.

With either tree make sure there are no frayed wires in the light strands.  And make sure to count how many lights you plug into each other.

“One of the problems we see is people will hook too many strands into one another,” Trepanier explains “and they could cause the wires to heat up especially if someone has older wiring in their home.”

With all of the new obstacles during the holiday season Trepanier recommends practicing your fire drill to make sure everyone can get out safely if there’s a fire. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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