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Why You Should Water Your Christmas Tree

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2014 and 2018 an average of 160 home fires each year started with a Christmas tree. In the videos below, NIST fire researchers demonstrate what could happen if a fire starts in a watered Christmas tree vs. a dry Christmas tree. For Christmas tree safety tips, visit the NFPA website.





Two engineers observe the scene for the Christmas tree burn
Bundy (left) and research structural engineer Matthew Hoehler (right) look closely to see signs of fire in the watered tree. As expected, the fire set in the well-watered tree didn’t catch.
Credit: F. Webber/NIST

Every holiday season, hundreds of residential fires start with a Christmas tree.

Above, you saw the NIST video that illustrates the dramatic difference between a fire started in a well-watered tree versus in a thirsty, neglected tree. Here, you can get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the video shoot.

Created March 16, 2018, Updated July 22, 2021