COLLEGE PARK, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - 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.
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.