Upstate firefighters warn about dry Christmas tree dangers

Christmas trees being recycled (December 26, 2016 FOX Carolina)

This time of year, the calls pick up.

"This is engine three, can you send engine two to that call?" asked Captain Scott Lanning.

His Greenville firefighters know the drill. They're dressed and ready in less than a minute. The truck lights are flashing and they’re ready to respond.

"It's a matter of minutes in that room,” Lanning said. “Especially a dry Christmas tree, there have been tests performed and within a matter of minutes the whole room is consumed."

Lanning said he's seen it before, and while it doesn't happen often he said Christmas tree flames can become a full blown blaze in the blink of an eye.

"Especially if they are near furniture, which is another good point,” Lanning said. “Keep trees away from any heat source, electric heaters, stoves and things of that nature."

The Captain said residents need to make sure they keep real trees watered. He said often times people start to neglect them after the holidays. He said sometimes they don’t even realize when their tree is drying out, but luckily he said there is one simple trick.

"One of the easiest ways is if you touch the tree and the needles fall off,” Lanning said. “That's usually a sign that they are getting pretty dry. Actually at my brother-in-law's yesterday, I bumped his and needles fell on the floor."

If they are dry, he said you need to get them out of the house immediately.

"We suggest using the LED lights too,” Lanning said. “They don't get as hot as the other lights and on a dry tree that can make a huge difference. That's usually where the heat source comes from to ignite those dry trees."

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