Tahoe chief’s corner: Christmas tree safety tips for the holidays | SierraSun.com

Tahoe chief’s corner: Christmas tree safety tips for the holidays

Mike Brown
Mike Brown

As you deck the halls this holiday season, be fire smart. A small fire that spreads to a Christmas tree can grow large very quickly.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, one of every three home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious.

A heat source too close to the tree causes roughly one in every six of the fires.

Consider these tips before selecting and decorating your Christmas tree:


Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.

Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 2” from the base of the trunk.

Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.

Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.

Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.


Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use.

Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.

Never use lit candles to decorate the tree.

Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed.


After holiday celebrations and the tree is dry, recycle your tree. Incline Village/Crystal Bay residents have two options to recycle Christmas trees.

Curbside Tree Roundup Week is January 5-11. Waste Management will collect clean trees curbside for recycling.

Place trees curbside on trash service day. Maximum length is 6 foot. Larger trees must be cut down to 3 foot lengths.

Trees are chipped by North Lake Tahoe Fire for local erosion control projects.

Residents may also drop off trees at Preston Field, 700 Tahoe Blvd., located off Highway 28 near the roundbouty at Highway 431, from Dec. 24 through Jan. 31.

“Chief’s Corner” is a regular feature in the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza from North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Chief Mike Brown, offering information, tips and education material on fire safety, emergency preparedness and other pertinent topics.

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