ORANGE COUNTY – With Christmas right around the corner and trees going up in homes, Orange County Fire Marshal, Jason Shepherd says it is important to keep Christmas trees from drying out and creating a fire hazard.

“If you can, cut about an inch off the bottom to insure that when you stick the tree in the stand that it can absorb the adequate amount of water needed in the hole.  You don’t want to place it in a room with a wood stove, cause it’ll dry it out a whole lot quicker, you want to put that tree in a room that typically don’t have a direct heating source in it” Shepherd says.

As Christmas trees dry out, needles will fall and can create another fire hazard if decorations are not set up correctly.  Shepherd says to avoid using candles for decorations and to always use safe lights.

“When you decorate the tree with lights, you want to make sure that the lights UL listed and that you use proper grounding when plug them in; don’t use an extension cord, preferably use a power strip so it will kill the power to it, and by all means don’t have any candles around the vicinity or put them on the tree for decoration” Shepherd says.

Making sure that you do not overload an outlet is another tip that can help reduce the risk of fire hazards.  This can be especially important when setting up lawn decorations or putting lights on a house.  Shepherd recommends using outside junction boxes when setting up lawn and house decorations.

“It’s preferable that you have listed, outside junction boxes to accommodate such wiring, and that you don’t use drop cord that could possibly cause a fire or have bad circuits, or things like that” Shepherd states.

Shepherd says using the 12 days of Christmas rule is one of the safest ways to set up a holiday tree, but with many people already about to get their trees, using some of these tips will help prevent a holiday fire.

For more information on fire safety during the holidays, click here.