In a Public Safety Alert, emergency officials are warning of the fire risks due to live Christmas trees.”There are multiple fires that are related to Christmas tree fires,” said Lt. Brian Davison of the Columbia Fire Department. “Unfortunately there are multiple people that lose their lives from the holiday season because of it.”Davison says it’s a tragedy that is completely preventable but continues to happen.”If you keep it properly watered during the season then it’s obviously going to decrease the chances of the fire happening,” said Davison. “But as the tree dries out, it’s going to get more flammable and it’ll take off at a faster rate.”The Columbia Fire Department says it only takes seconds for a tree to catch on fire and then fill a room with smoke. Firefighters say the fire can then burn a room in a matter of seconds to minutes, with temperatures reaching 800 degrees.ABC 17 News bought a live Christmas tree to find how quickly it would catch on fire. Within seconds, the tree was fully ignited. Officials say a fire can be prevented through a few simple steps, including buying a healthy tree.-Choose a reliable tree dealer-Shake the tree to get rid of excess needles-Cut the bottom of the trunk so that it can absorb additional moistureAfter the holidays are over, officials advise disposing of the tree as soon as possible.”You want to try and get the tree out of the home, get the decorations put away and the City of Columbia will be announcing their recycling program for the Christmas trees towards the middle of December,” said Davison. “They’ll pick up the tree for free and dispose of it for you.”
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