WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) – Putting the finishing touches on a freshly cut Christmas tree can be a fun tradition for many families; but that big beautiful tree, if not properly taken care of, can be dangerous.

Statistics show that around 160 home fires start with a Christmas tree each year.

Deric Jamison, the Chief Fire Inspector for the City of Wheeling, said it’s vital to water a newly cut tree on a regular basis.

A new tree can take up to a gallon of water per day and it’s a good idea to set some type of reminder to add water. A dry tree is much more likely to catch fire, which can spread very quickly

Don’t’ place the tree near a heat source. The decorations, the lights, the extension cord that you use to light the tree, they are damaged in any way we want you to replace them. When a Christmas tree does catch fire, we are very fortunate it’s not all that common, but when it does happen it’s absolutely devastating.

Deric Jamison, Chief Fire Inspector, City of Wheeling

Jamison also suggests cutting about two inches off the trunk of a new tree before placing it into the stand and filling with water. That will allow the tree to takes on more water with less chance of drying out.