decorating tree

BIG BEAR, CA/– Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. That also means a greater risk for fire. Big Bear Fire Department encourages everyone to follow a few simple tips to help ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.


  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn.
  • Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged. 
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors. 


  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high and in a locked cabinet.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.
  • Ask smokers to smoke outside. Remind smokers to keep their smoking materials with them so young children do not touch them.Provide large, deep ashtrays for smokers. Dampen cigarette butts with water before discarding.


  • If you use an artificial tree, make sure it is made of safe, fireproof materials. If your artificial tree is pre-lit, check carefully for burnt-out, broken or damaged light sockets before using the tree.
  • If you use a natural tree, make a fresh 1-inch cut at the base to open up pores clogged by sap. The fresh cut surface should be creamy-white so that the tree will be able to drink water.
  • For a natural tree, choose a sturdy stand that holds at least one gallon of water.  Rinse the stand with a mixture of one capful of bleach and one cup of water before inserting the tree. This rinsing reduces the growth of microorganisms that can block the tree’s ability to absorb water.  
  • Miniature lights produce less heat and reduce drying on a natural tree.Always check lights for frayed or cracked wiring and broken sockets before placing on a tree. Do not attempt to repair a worn light—throw it away!Turn off tree lights when leaving the house or before going to bed. Avoid overloading circuits. Plug no more than three light sets into a single outlet.
  • An average natural tree may consume between a quart and a gallon of water per day. If the water level drops below the cut end of the trunk, a seal will form and no more water will be absorbed- so don’t forget to water the tree every day!
  • Place the tree away from heat sources: heating vents, fireplaces, wood stoves, radiators, T.V. sets, or sunny windows. Keep rearranged furniture away from heat sources as well. Be careful not to block a door with the tree or with rearranged furniture.
  • After the holidays, remove a natural tree from the house as soon as possible. Never burn any part of a Christmas tree in a wood stove or fireplace; it burns too fast and is explosive! The best alternative is to RECYCLE your tree through your city or county program.

For additional information, please contact the Big Bear Fire Department at www.bigbearfire.orgor (909) 866-7566.


About Big Bear Fire Department:

Big Bear Fire Authority was formed under a Joint Powers Agreement in 2012 combining BigBear Lake Fire Protection District and Big Bear City Fire Department, now commonly known as Big Bear Fire Department. Since its inception,it is committedto providing Big Bear Valley with professional fire, medical and emergency services “Protecting Lives and Property,” with timely response to fire and medical emergencies.


Contact:​ Dawn Marschinke
Big Bear Fire Department
41090 Big Bear Blvd.
P.O. Box 2830
Big Bear Lake, Calif. 92315
Phone:​ 909-866-7566 x224
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.