I’m burnin’, I’m burnin’, I’m burnin’ for you

(with apologies to Blue Oyster Cult)

‘Tis the season for all things Christmas, including the annual hysterical reports of the dangers of real Christmas trees.  Along with heartwarming reports of Thanksgiving feasts at the local homeless shelter and live remotes of frenzied Black Friday shoppers, footage of Christmas trees going up in flames seems to be a staple of every network affiliate in the country.  In fact, in some cases the intrepid reporter will go to great lengths to insure that the Tannenbaum ignites the obligatory conflagration http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9dNS5WPncU

What the talking head doesn’t want to tell you is that a fresh, well-maintained Christmas tree is very difficult to ignite.  Numerous fire agencies and others have documented that a fresh tree that is kept watered will self-extinguish even if exposed to direct flame.  And faulty wiring is even less likely to ignite a fresh tree.  The story changes completely, however, if trees are allowed to dry.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNjO3wZDVlA

Of course, dry trees drop needles as well. So the key to keeping your Christmas safe (and tidy) is to get a fresh tree and keep it watered.  For many trees this means checking and re-filling the water daily, especially during the first week when the tree is brought in the home.  It’s not a real Christmas without a real tree – make sure it’s a safe one as well.  

6 thoughts on “I’m burnin’, I’m burnin’, I’m burnin’ for you”

  1. Plus, I was reading yesterday somewhere (can’t locate the link right now) that real trees are better for the environment than fake trees that are produced and then thrown away, especially when the real trees are grown in a eco-friendly way and then composted.

  2. We use real candles on our tree every year (only burned for a short time and under close supervision). Tests I have done after the tree is taken down show that a well watered tree is difficult to light with a candle.

  3. Real trees may be better for the environment than fake trees that are thrown away, but what about fake trees that are kept forever? We’ve had ours for well over 10 years with virtually no sign of wear and tear. Getting a real tree every year and disposing of it seems like a lot of unnecessary work, not to mention it involves killing a tree which doesn’t sit well with me. Just my 2 cents.

  4. Doing some quick internet research, it turns out that now that if you have had your tree for 10 years, then you are about even on carbon emissions (real – 3.5kg vs fake – 40kg). Then again, I imagine that people using the same tree for 10 years are outliers, especially when one examines people using the really cheap trees (sub-$75).

  5. That’s a bit hard to believe, especially when one drives a considerable distance in a gas guzzler every year to get a fresh tree, not to mention the carbon emissions involved in fertilizing, harvesting, hauling away and shredding the trees. Pretty sure that’s more than 3.5 kg of carbo
    n per tree.

  6. Well, I guess some of it depends on how long you drive and if you make a special trip to get a tree. Where I live, I drive less than 2 miles round-trip to purchase my tree and the trip is normally combined with other errands. At the same place where I purchased my live tree are artificial trees that arrived the same way, on a big truck, but they came a much longer distance (from China) than my tree (most likely from mountains of VA or NC to NoVa).

    On another note, instinctively, I prefer live trees because of their ability to be recycled (mulched) and the fact that it keeps more PVC out of the house. Not to mention the fact they keep American farmers employed and farm land protected from development/abandonment.

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