Christmas is approaching and more Christmas trees are making their appearances in area homes now. One of the annual challenges is to keep the tree fresh through the entire holiday season. North Zone Fire Prevention Specialist Leslie Williams of Bridger Teton National Forest says the first thing is to be surethe natural tree you choose is a fresh one. She says find a tree that is good and strong with healthy needles on it. She says you can tell by gently tugging on a branch and if the needles remain on it, it is a good healthy tree. Before the tree is being set up, forest officials suggest cut off about an inch off the trunk and place it in a bucket of warm water so that it will draw. After that, Williams says the key to maintaining that tree is water. She says a tree can drink up to a gallon of water a day when it is set up in its stand. She also suggests hosing off the tree before bringing it in to make it look a little more vibrant. Of course, select a place for the tree that is away from heat vents or fireplaces – and Williams also suggests placing it away from south or west-facing windows is helpful as well. She adds, the smaller LED lights put off minimal heat when they are lit and so don’t contribute to the tree drying out. Finally, she says if you still plan to go out on a tree hunt, monitor the weather, dress properly, and let someone know where you plan to go and when you plan to return.