“O Christmas tree, O Christmas tree” is a common mantra this time of the year, and that’s especially true in the High Country, the Christmas tree capital of the world.

But with that mantra comes a responsibility, and one that every home that decorates for the holidays must pay attention to.

Christmas tree fires, while not common, are serious and deadly — on average nationally, one of every 32 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared with an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.

So serious that the National Fire Protection Association has a webpage titled, “Winter holiday fires by the numbers.”

Which all means that while enjoying those fragrant and beautiful Christmas trees, fire safety needs to come first. That includes common sense measures such as using a tree stand that will hold water, unplugging Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed and keeping the tree at least three feet from any heat source. It also includes the not-so-obvious, such as properly disposing of your tree. A dry Fraser fir left in the wrong place can be just as much of a fire hazard outside of the home as inside it.

In other words, it’s important to look beyond the beauty of your Christmas decorations and see your home with a more critical eye — one aimed toward the fire safety of your family, and one that will help ensure you have a wonderful holiday to look forward to.

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