Yuma, Arizona - With Thanksgiving here, and Christmas only a few weeks away, don’t forget to keep safety in your holiday preparations. If you have or are purchasing an artificial Christmas tree, make sure it is labeled, certified, or identified by the manufacturer as flame retardant.

If you choose a “live” tree, pick one that is fresh. Needles should be green, flexible, and not come off when you run your hands over the branches. When you get it home, cut 1or 2 inches from the bottom (like you do for cut flowers) and keep the water container at the base of the tree filled (check it daily!). This water is sucked up into the tree and helps to keep it fresh longer.

Place your tree so it is at least 3 feet away from any heat source and farther from fireplaces or open flames. Heating vents or space heaters blowing on the tree can dry it out faster too. Use only lights that are intended for indoor use, and never place candles on a tree. 20% of Christmas tree fires occur because a heating source is too close to a tree.

After Christmas, properly dispose of your tree. Old dry trees laying in alleys, or in yards, are a fire hazard. Make use of the City’s annual Christmas tree drop-off recycling program so that your old tree will not only be safely disposed of, it will also be put to good use. For more information about fire and injury prevention classes we offer, contact the Yuma Fire Department Public Information Office at 928-373-4855,