Have a real Christmas tree in your home? Good for you! Doesn’t its sappy scent smell fantastic? It’s wonderful, yes? Great. Well, a great tree comes with great responsibility: making sure it doesn’t burn your house to the ground. The National Fire Protection Agency estimates that fire departments responded to 200 fires per year that start from Christmas trees between 2011 and 2015.
There’s a simple solution to the preventing a Christmas tree conflagration: keep it watered. We don’t care how tacky your tinseling or how off-kilter your ornament placement. Just water it daily. Also some must-dos: check your Christmas lights for any frayed wires that could cause a spark, ensure your tree is a safe distance (at least three feet) from fireplaces or other heat sources, and be sure to toss the tree when excessive needles start dropping from its branches.
Not convinced about the danger of Christmas tree disasters? Check out some these videos of trees going up in flames. Many are part of safety campaigns in which whole model living rooms are constructed for the sole purpose of being torched. In any case, take a look:
Fire Kills Campaign
The UK’s Fire Kills campaign helpfully put together this demonstration on just how fast a Christmas tree fire can spread. It only takes 46 seconds for the whole room to go up in flames.
It takes less than fifteen seconds for this dried-out tree to become completely enveloped. This man’s outside experiment luckily doesn’t spread any farther than the tree, and he strongly urges for cutting a fresh tree and keeping water in the stand.
Watered Versus Not Watered
The National Fire Prevention Association makes a strong case for watering your Christmas tree daily. In a controlled experiment, a dry, unwatered tree is utterly decimated when it catches on fire, while a regularly-watered tree stays mostly unharmed.
Dry and Wet Living Rooms
The National Fire Prevention Association also posted an update on its experiment, now complete with model living rooms for its dry and watered trees. As expected, the unwatered tree ensures that the whole model room it’s placed in goes up in smoke.
A Tale of Two Trees
In this test, put together by Envirograf Fireproof Spray, the dry tree almost catches the watered tree on fire before being put out.
Fort Campbell Fire & Emergency Services Holiday Warning
Fort Campbell Fire & Emergency Services built a whole mock living room for a safety demonstration that goes into detail on the process of smoke building up. It takes a few minutes for the furniture to light, but once it does the whole room quickly turns into a raging inferno.
There you have it, folks. Are these videos mesmerizing to watch? Yeah. But they serve as important windows into what could happen if you don’t water your tree. Moral of the story? Water your tree.