Safety tips for preventing Christmas tree fires

The Prince William County Department of Fire and Rescue warns that live Christmas trees can be dangerous if not cared for properly. Although Christmas tree fires are fairly uncommon, they are more deadly than other types of fires, officials said.

The department offers these safety tips:

→Keep trees watered. Make sure the tree stand holds at least one gallon of water. The average six-foot tree can absorb up to one gallon of water a day.

→Keep trees away from heat sources, including fireplaces, heating vents, radiators and electric and kerosene heaters. Twenty percent of Christmas tree fires start because a tree was too close to a heat source.

→Replace lights that have worn cords or loose bulb connections. Nearly half of fires are caused by an electrical failure or malfunction. Turn off lights before leaving home or going to bed.

→Dispose of dry trees. If you put up your tree over Thanksgiving, it should be taken down before New Year’s.

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Potomac Health Foundation hosts grant workshop

A workshop on how to apply for a Potomac Health Foundation grant is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Hylton Education Center, Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center, 2300 Opitz Blvd., Woodbridge.

The session is designed for local nonprofit organizations that provide health services.

The initial application for the letter of intent for a grant is due Jan. 22. The second phase of the application process is by invitation only. Awards will be announced June 7.

Police target illegally parked cars in Dumfries lot

Vehicles parked illegally in the Dumfries Road commuter parking lot will be the target of an aggressive campaign Monday by Virginia State Police and Prince William County police.

The campaign is in response to recent complaints of vehicles blocking travel lanes and pedestrian crosswalks. Police have notified commuters of the upcoming enforcement.

Illegally parked vehicles are defined as:

→Vehicles parked in areas posted or marked with no parking signs.

→Vehicles parked illegally in a travel lane that obstructs traffic. Those vehicles will be ticketed and towed from the lot at the owner’s expense.

— Compiled by Sarah Lane