Christmas trees can be fire hazards, experts warn

Seventy per cent of Swiss Christmas trees are felled and imported from overseas

A new survey suggests that Christmas trees are responsible for more than 1,000 fires in Swiss homes every year.

This content was published on December 21, 2001 - 12:01

According to a report published in time for the Christmas holiday, one of the main reasons for the fires is that imported trees are often cut down in November, and by the time they arrive in Switzerland, they are as dry as kindling.

The report warns that the Nordmann tree, imported annually in large numbers to Switzerland from Denmark, is the most likely to burst into flames if placed too close to a burning candle.

The Nordmann is one of the most popular trees among the Swiss, partly because of its traditional shape and forest smell.

Experts warn that an ill-placed candle is enough to transform the Nordmann from the perfect symbol of the festive season into a "flaming torch that would test the skills of firemen".

Festive enthusiasm

The warnings have not been enough to dent Swiss enthusiasm for buying real Christmas trees.

Statistics released on Friday by the Federal Environment Office suggest more than one million trees will have been cut down and transported to Swiss homes by Christmas Eve. Only one in ten Swiss households will be without a tree this Christmas.

The price of a Christmas tree in Switzerland ranges from SFr15 for a basic model to SFr120 for a more elaborate version.

The report also reveals that around 70 per cent of all trees sold in Switzerland during the run-up to Christmas are imported, mostly from Denmark.

swissinfo with agencies

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