Watch This Christmas Tree Burn In 73 Seconds

The holiday season can take a devastating turn if Christmas trees and decorations are not properly maintained.

A Christmas tree goes up in flames.|Video credit: Jenni Pompi
A Christmas tree goes up in flames.|Video credit: Jenni Pompi
How long would it take an under-watered tree to burn to ash? About 73 seconds.

The Prince George's County Fire Department simulated what could happen if the lights on an under-watered tree shorted and caused a fire. 

PGFD recommends people follow these guidelines from the National Fire Protection Association to decrease the chances of indoor tree fires during the holidays: 

Picking the tree

  • If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as fire retardant.
  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Placing the tree

  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1" - 2" from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.

Lighting the tree

  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.

After Christmas

  • Get rid of the tree when it begins dropping needles. Dried-out trees are a fire danger and should not be left in the home or garage, or placed outside against the home. Check with your local community to find a recycling program. Bring outdoor electrical lights inside after the holidays to prevent hazards and make them last longer.
Bruce December 19, 2013 at 07:51 PM
Isn't the situation wiith tree fires bad enough that they don't have to show phony videos? There's a high volume fan sitting right at the foot of the tree, blowing the fire to make it accelerate faster as it burns! Why lie about it?
Jenni Pompi December 20, 2013 at 08:42 AM
That is not absolutely not a high volume fan. That's a portable heater, sitting there to simulate a condition that firefighters often seen in these types of fires—additional heating sources further drying out an already dry tree. And, the heater was in no way blowing on the tree.
Tom Hayes December 20, 2013 at 09:55 AM
I sure hope the portable heater (unplugged) was not damaged in the simulation. Keep your real trees watered!


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