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Pasco firefighters show just how fast Christmas trees can catch fire

Pasco firefighters show just how fast Christmas trees can catch fire

PASCO, Wash. -- Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree, how flammable are your branches? Very, it turns out.

And Pasco firefighters wanted to show people just how quickly a Christmas tree can combust—so for once—they started a fire.

Set up in their training facility was a couch, end table, and a Christmas tree—resembling a standard living room. And it didn’t take long for the tree to catch fire. Watch the video above to see.

“The problem is a lot of these trees get cut way early in the fall,” firefighter Ben Shearer said. “They've been cut already for a month or two or more.”

That means by the time they get to your home, they're already dry.

“Pine trees are full of sap and burn very hot, very quickly,” he said.

Pasco firefighters aren't against real Christmas trees--but they offer some advice to avoid a fire.

“When you're looking at the trees, one thing you want to do is give the tree a little shake,” Shearer said. “If it starts dropping needles everywhere, that's an indication that the tree is already dying.”

They said to keep your tree at least three feet away from candles, space heaters, and fireplaces.

“When you do get it home, you want to cut a couple inches off the bottom of the tree,” he said. “Get it right down into the water. Make sure you have a good-sized stand that will hold lots of water.”

And artificial trees? They also catch fire, just not quite as fast.

“That's all poisonous stuff—it’s burning plastic,” Shearer said.

Firefighters said Christmas tree fires aren't that common, but they are usually fatal.

“It's not having a real tree or a fake tree that's the danger,” he said. “It's making sure your house is safe to begin with.”

So when you're carefully wrapping presents, make sure you're watering your tree with just as much care.

Firefighters said don't put your tree next to a door, because if it catches fire it will block your way out.

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