From festive to flames: how easy it is for Christmas trees to catch fire

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DELHI TOWNSHIP, Mich (WILX) -- A local fire department shows the dangers of putting your Christmas tree in the wrong place.

"If you have a natural tree and you don't have them properly watered all the time, they can create a potential fire hazard," Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Marshall for the Delhi Township Fire Department Brad Drury said.

On Wednesday, the Delhi Township Fire Department demonstrated just how easy it is to ruin your Christmas. With one flare, the Christmas tree turned into a ball of fire, reaching up to 1,600 degrees in just minutes.

"The Christmas tree went up very quickly once it started, there wasn't quickly run and grab a little cup of water and throwing it on it, it was out of control before you could even react to it," Drury said.

It didn't take long for this living room to become completely engulfed in flames. But firefighters say there are some things you can do to protect your home.

"It [the tree] should be away from any heat source specifically. Like your fireplaces, if you have space heaters, a candle use, anything like that, you want to make sure that you're at least three to five feet away from the Christmas tree," Drury said.

Firefighters say checking your Christmas lights for shorts or frays is vital to preventing tree fires as well. The same rules apply to artificial trees. Following these rules may be the difference between life and death.

"And you can see that sometimes you don't have a whole lot of time to get out of the house," Drury added.

In addition, firefighters say its also important to have working smoke detectors because they can be your first line of defense, especially if you're sleeping. Also, closing your bedroom door while you sleep can buy you time in a fire.