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Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service

Christmas Tree Guidelines


The following is the Winnipeg Fire Department's policy pertaining to Christmas Trees. This Christmas Tree policy applies to all buildings except private homes and suites.


NATURAL CUT TREES

Property owners and managers must be aware that if not properly maintained a natural tree has the potential to burn rapidly once ignited. Fire will spread quickly to nearby combustibles. All requirements must be strictly adhered to in order to ensure an adequate level of safety for occupants and buildings.

Christmas Tree placement within building must comply with the following table:

OCCUPANCY NO CUT TREES PERMITTED CUT TREE PERMITTED WITH AUTOMATIC SPRINKLER SYSTEMS CUT TREE PERMITTED WITHOUT AUTOMATIC SPRINKLER SYSTEMS POTTED TREE PERMITTED
Ambulatory Health Care
Apartment Buildings Within Unit Within Unit
Assembly
Board and Care
Business
Day-care
Detention and Correction
Dormitories
Educational
Health Care
Hotels
Industrial
Lodging and Rooming
Mercantile
Storage


Displays of natural trees, where permitted, must meet the following requirements:
  • The bottom end of the trunk shall be cut off with a straight fresh cut at least ½ in. above the end prior to placing the tree in a suitable stand with water.
  • The water level shall be maintained above the fresh cut and checked at least once daily by a designated person.
  • Natural trees larger than 8 feet in height require a container or stand capable of holding at least three to five gallons of water.
  • A natural tree less than 8 feet in height requires a container or stand capable of holding at least one gallon of water.
  • Tree maintenance must be designated to specific individuals.
  • Needles must be checked daily for dryness. This can be done by grasping a tree branch and pulling your hand towards you. If the needles fall off readily, the tree does not have adequate moisture content and should be removed.
  • Trees shall not be located near heating vents or other fixed or portable heating devices that could cause it to dry out prematurely or to be ignited. Open flames such as candles or lanterns shall not be located on or near Christmas trees.
  • Security personnel or staff familiar with the alarm system, exiting facilities, and the use of portable extinguishers must be available at all times when the facilities are open to the public or occupied.


ARTIFICIAL AND NATURAL CUT TREES
  • Trees must be kept clear of exits and paths of exit travel.
  • Only CSA certified, LED light sets and wiring shall be used. Replace any sets of lights that are worn or have loose connections.
  • Only non-combustible/flame resistant decorations are to be used.
  • Electrical lights are prohibited on metal artificial trees.

Note:Forestry Canada has published studies indicating that Christmas trees properly immersed in water will remain safe from a point source of heat for at least three weeks if installed reasonably fresh.

Conversely Christmas trees with prior outdoor storage may become highly flammable within three to eight days if left dry.

Last update: October 27, 2017