Firefighters train for Christmas tree blazes

Posted at 10:15 PM, Nov 30, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-01 00:15:06-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Now that Thanksgiving is over, many people will be putting up their Christmas decorations, and that probably includes a tree.

The Saratoga Springs Fire Department is also preparing for the holiday season by doing some extra training so they know how to tackle a Christmas tree fire.

"There's a process to fire and we get to actually put them in this controlled environment and they get to watch the fire grow from its phases," said Saratoga Springs Fire Chief Jess Campbell. "These are all things that our people need to have a very good understanding of as they approach a structure so that they understand different conditions they're seeing and looking at."

There are some safety precautions that should be taken so those holiday lights, trees and decorations don't start a fire.

"Christmas trees are something people need to be aware of. That they do all they can to get a fresh tree, they do all they can to keep it watered, to keep it hydrated," Campbell said. "What you need to do is when those trees come home, there's a fresh cut to the stump. At least an inch off the bottom of the stump, they get kept and maintained and good clean water."

For those who choose to go with an artificial tree, be aware that while they're tested and flame resistant, they can still burn.

"They will burn once they reach a particular temperature and they can add to the problem just as well," Campbell said.

And Christmas trees aren't the only thing that increases the number of house fires in the winter. Improperly using space heaters can also trigger a fire.

"People have a tendency to start pulling those out, utilizing those. And sometimes people forget about having flammables near those, whether it's a piece of furniture or blanket or clothing," Campbell said.