UPDATED: Tuesday, December 17, 2013 - 11:18pm
COLLEGE STATION, Tx (KYLE) — The ornaments are hung and the lights have been added; it's a synonymous symbol of the holiday season but the College Station Fire Department warns that if you opt for a live pine tree, you run the risk of having your Christmas go up in flames.
"We want people to have a safe and happy holiday season and not be faced with a tragedy like that," said CSFD communications officer, Bart Humphreys.
Humphreys says if you don't cut your tree down yourself, by the time you pick it out and take it home from the lot it's already been drying out for several weeks so water is key to its survival.
"It's kind of like cut flowers but on a larger scale so it's very important when you buy a cut tree, one of the first things you want to do, is cut about two inches from the bottom of the trunk," Humphreys said. "That part of the tree has dried out more than any other so if you cut it to some fresh wood, it'll help it absorb the water better."
He says larger trees require at least a gallon of water every day and once the pine needles start to fall, Humphreys says that's a good indicator it's time to toss it out instead of trying to keep it because at that point the tree is beyond its life cycle and you have a serious fire hazard in your house.
"In just a matter of seconds, 10-15 seconds, it can go from a tiny spark you can hardly notice to a tree that's fully involved in fire and naturally that'll involve everything around it."
While the numbers are down from years past, there are still around 250 Christmas tree fires and an average of six deaths every year so to avoid becoming a statistic just remember: water your spruce and get rid of as soon as the holidays are over.