San Bernardino Mountains, CA, December 6, 2013 – When setting up a natural Christmas Tree, don’t sacrifice safety. The San Bernardino County Fire Department  reminds you of the following safety tips as you decorate for the holidays.

CHECK THE LIGHTS: Before you put up any electrically lighted decorations or a pre-lit tree, check for burned-out lights, empty sockets, broken bulbs and frayed wires. Throw out any damaged strands of lights. Turn off tree lights leaving the house or going to bed. Plug no more than three light sets into a single outlet.

USE MINI-LIGHTS; THEY’RE COOLER: Miniature lights produce less heat and drying on a natural tree.

UNCLOG THE SAP: If you use a natural tree, make a fresh 1-inch cut at the base to open up pores clogged by sap.  The fresh cut surface should be creamy-white so that the tree will be able to drink water.

WATER DAILY: Put your natural tree in a sturdy stand that holds at least one gallon of water.  Rinse the stand with a mixture of one capful of bleach and one cup of water before inserting the tree.  This reduces the growth of microorganisms that can block the tree’s ability to absorb water.  If the tree is not going into the house soon after purchase, it should be stored in a bucket of water in a cool place away from wind and sun. Watering daily may be more important than you think. A natural tree can consume up to a gallon of water per day. If the water level drops below the cut end of the trunk, a seal will form and no more water will be absorbed.

BEAT THE HEAT: Keep the tree and any rearranged furniture away from heating vents, fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, T.V. sets, or sunny windows.  Don’t block any doors, either.

RECYCLE THE TREE PROMPTLY: After the holidays, remove a natural tree from the house as soon as possible.  Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace; it burns too fast and is explosive!  The best alternative is to recycle your tree through your local city or county program.