Demonstration shows how fast Christmas tree fires can spread if tree not well watered

They light up homes and neighborhoods and send a signal that the holidays are here. Christmas trees and lights are a beacon of the season. But it's easy to forget that they need constant care to avoid becoming a fire hazard.

On average, six people die each year due to house fires that begin with Christmas trees according to the National Fire Protection Association.

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The group says that in the U.S., fire departments respond to an annual average of 210 Christmas trees home fires. In addition to the fatalities, Christmas tree fires leave over a dozen injured and cause $16.2 million in property damage.

Isaac Leventon, with the Department of Fire Protection Engineering at the University of Maryland's A. James Clark School of Engineering, held a live demonstration Wednesday showing the importance of keeping your Christmas tree well hydrated.

The demonstration showed the differences in burn speed and intensity between a well-watered tree and a dry tree.

During the demonstration it was easy to see the importance of maintaining a well hydrated tree. Although fire did eventually burn the entire tree, it burned at a much slower rate than did the dry tree.

Find out more on tree safety from the Department of Fire Protection Engineering online.