Christmas trees, while beautiful and a staple of the holiday season can also be a deadly fire hazard. Fire departments respond to an average of 230 home fires caused by Christmas trees each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Fort Leonard Wood Fire Department fire inspector Michael Campbell has several tips you can follow to keep yourself and your tree safe this holiday season. When choosing a tree, look for one that is fresh and has green needles that don’t fall out. Brownish needles indicate that the tree is dried out and more prone to catch fire. Ensure that your tree is watered daily to prevent it from drying out. Check manufacturer’s labels to ensure lights and decorations are flame-retardant. A label from a nationally recognized testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories, Intertek, or the Canadian Standards Association should be present. Check those lights for frayed wires or excessive wear. And don’t connect more than three strands of mini-string sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for screw-in bulbs. Residents are encouraged to call the Fort Leonard Wood Fire Prevention Section with questions concerning fire or home safety. They can be reached at 573-596-0886.