LONG BEACH -- If you want to keep your Christmas tree from bursting into a burning yule log, follow the following tips from the Long Beach Fire Department.

-- Select a fresh tree. Needles should be green and hard to pull back from the branches and the trunk should be sticky with sap. Test your tree by bouncing it on the ground. If too many needles fall off, the tree has been cut and dried out for too long.

-- Care for your tree. Keep it away from heat sources, including fireplaces and heat vents. Keep cigarettes away from trees and don't put a tree up to too early or leave it up longer than two weeks. Keep the stand filled with water.

-- Tree lighting. Inspect holiday lights every year for frayed wires, wear and tear. Use lights that have been listed by an approved testing lab and only use lights on trees designated for such use. Don't exceed lighting limits, usually three strands is the maximum number that can be linked. Check the package for details. And never leave lights on unattended.

-- Use only non-flammable decorations.

-- Make sure artificial trees, including metallic and plastic, are flame retardant.

-- Never use real candles on a tree.

-- When it's time to dispose of your tree, never use any part of it in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Take it to a recycling center or have it picked up through your community curbside service.

-- Use only non-flammable decorations.

-- Make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are installed and working well.

For more tips, and to see how fast a Christmas tree can catch fire, watch a video at http://youtu.be/dxaUj_rfkN4.


tracy.manzer@presstelegram.com, 562-714-2150, twitter.com/tmanzer