Like many sentimental souls we had left our live Christmas tree up until last night. Our less than month old tree seemed OK; its needles were green and the stand it was in had been kept full of water. But as I removed the lights and ornaments from the tree I realized things weren't exactly as they appeared. The branches snapped easily even though the needles hadn't dropped on their own. Well, I thought, good I am taking it down now. And since we augment the heat for our house with wood, I decided to trim a few branches and use them along with my normal kindling to start a fire in our fireplace wood stove. What happened when I did that was shocking.
I had a clean fire box and I built the fire from scratch. It was my usual fire building technique except for the fir branches which I used in place of tiny kindling. I lighted the fire and when I did it practically blew me back from the fireplace. I'd never seen anything like it. I knew in an instant if even the slightest spark or short from a Christmas light had touched that tree it would have been up in flames and no fire extinguisher would have put it out.
For purposes of this diary I had to re-create the explosion part of the experience since I was unprepared to photograph it when it originally happened. Both are screen captures from videos I was unable to upload. The first shows the Frazer fur branches exploding. They ignited not like normal kindling but more like the wood contained an accelerant. It looked and sounded like the fire was started with gasoline.