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Fire safety tips for the holiday season

By NICOLE PITT

ILION, N.Y. (WKTV) - Experts say more people are opting for a real tree this year. Along with the needles and real pine smell come some additional precautions you should be taking to make sure your family stays safe this holiday season.

"They burn fast, they burn furious and they burn very hot," said Lt. Robert Fahey with the Ilion Fire Department. "They don't burn for a long time but they go up like a roman candle."

Video provided by the U.S. Fire Administration shows exactly what happens when a tree is not watered properly. When exposed to a flame, the tree engulfs within seconds.

Officials say trees require between a half gallon and a gallon of water every day.

"You don't want your tree anywhere near any combustibles," said Lt. Fahey. "You want safe lights on the tree- you don't want space heaters or anything within three feet of the tree. The tree itself may not be the cause of the fire but if the tree catches fire it's like a rocket ship in your living room."

Fire officials offer these tips:
- use flame retardant material for all decorations
- use LED lights, they burn cool
- beware of where candles are placed in your home-- and if possible- use battery operated candles instead

"December is the busiest month of the year for candle fires and Christmas Day when everybody is unwrapping presents and there is paper flying, you've just got to be aware of candles," said Lt. Fahey.

Lt. Fahey says be careful if you toss your tree out the backdoor after the holidays, especially if it's near the back deck. He says often times a casually tossed cigarette butt will light the tree on fire, dangerously close to your home.

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