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Christmas tree safety

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- A dry tree is a fire hazard, especially when it is near a heat source like Christmas tree lights.

When it comes to picking the perfect tree, there are countless choices.

"The biggest seller right now is the Fraiser Fir, like I'm standing in front of right here," said Bonnie Brown, co-owner of Browns Tree Farms, "People love them because they hold their needles better than any other tree."

No matter what tree you decide to take home, all trees need a fresh cut, minimal exposure to heat, and plenty of water.

Christmas trees need the same amount of nutrients and water that they would absorb if they were still in the ground.

Fire Marshal Dave Cherrone of the Clay Fire Department explained, "On average, a 6-7-foot tree is going to use about a gallon of water a day. It’s a tree not a house plant."

Lights that are draped on the tree can ignite a fire if they are left on too long, and the pine needles are dry.

"Old bulbs get up to two hundred degrees, make sure that when you use them your tree is well watered," advised Cherrone.

Artificial trees come with labels that say that they are not flammable, but the fire department said the branches can still catch on fire, and if any of your ornaments are made of paper, a fire can spread quickly.

The fire department said that if you have lights that are taped together, get rid of them. Local home improvement stores have programs where you can turn in old broken lights for a fresh pair of lights that work well and are safe to use on your tree.

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