Avoid Christmas Trees Going Up in Flames This Season - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Avoid Christmas Trees Going Up in Flames This Season

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Not leaving candles on overnight can help prevent fires. Not leaving candles on overnight can help prevent fires.

NBC RIGHT NOW- Christmas decorations and trees can catch on fire this holiday season if owners are not careful.

Christmas can be a joyous time of the year, but it can be very easy and quick to lose it all.  The Pasco Fire Department demonstrated at Walla Walla Fire District #5's Training Center Monday to show how quickly a home fire can spread due to decorations and trees. 

"We've got the Christmas Tree in the corner of the living room.  We've got some book shelves set up, a little couch there ready to go," said Ben Shearer with the Pasco Fire Department.

The demonstration showed how a family can accidentally leave a candle burning overnight.  Not only that, but they have not done a good job at watering their tree.  In the demonstration, the candle fell on the curtain and caught it on fire. 

"It'll fall off the wall into the Christmas tree here or into the presents down below," said Shearer.

In a matter of minutes, the dry tree starts to burn, the smoke alarm goes off, and the the tree is engulfed in flames.

"Your living room would be filling with smoke, making it harder to see," said Shearer. 

According to the National Fire Prevention Agency, on average, 210 home fires are started with Christmas trees every year.  Candles start about 2 out of every 5 decoration fires.  Between 2009 and 2013, decorations were the first thing to catch fire in an average of 860 home fires per year.    

"By the time we get there, the whole living room is on fire.  The couch is on fire, the wall is on fire. any of your pictures, all of your belongings, it's on fire," said Shearer.

Here are some helpful tips: buy flame resistant decorations, use battery operated candles, keep trees at lease three feet from heat sources, keep those trees watered, and always turn off holiday lights when you go to bed or leave home.

Firefighters do not want to respond to incidents like this around the holidays, especially when they are avoidable.  

Here is more information about holiday fires from the National Fire Protection Association. 

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