The state fire marshal is urging Mainers to use caution with live Christmas trees inside homes.

Fire Marshal John Dean said Christmas trees should be fresh and placed in a study tree stand after, at least, an inch has been cut from the tree trunk. The tree should be given plenty of water and located in an area not blocking exits. Dean said trees should be kept away from all sources of heat, such as wood stoves, fireplaces, heating ducts and heat registers.

“A dry Christmas tree is the most flammable item found inside a home this time of year and once ignited will literally explode and be consumed by fire within seconds,” Dean said.

Dean also urged caution with holiday candles citing candles as the cause of about 6 per cent of all Maine house fires. Dean said candles should never be left unattended, should be kept away from Christmas trees. Decorations and wrapping paper and should be out of reach of children and pets.

The Fire Marshal also suggested that Christmas is the ideal time to replace batteries in all smoke detectors in a house. For more information on Christmas tree safety in public locations and other fire safety tips, the State Fire Marshal web site is

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