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Dry Christmas trees pose fire hazard

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY -- The drought that has plagued our state merits extra attention for your Christmas tree.

The trees may be drier than normal and require more water, lest you have a fire hazard in your house. And these days, we don't need any more fire hazards.

So many times around the holidays you hear of house fires involving the family Christmas tree.

We have some tips to prevent such a tragedy and advice on what to do should it happen.

A burning tree is what you don't want to wake up to on Christmas morning. With drought conditions still affecting much of the state, it also means Christmas trees could potentially turn your joyous holiday into a deadly one.

Brunswick County Fire Marshal Scott Garner said, "We've been in drought conditions in the state, so a lot of the trees that come in, come from areas that don't have a lot of water, so some of the trees we've noticed are coming in a lot dryer this year than what they usually are."

According to the National Safety Council there are more than 400 residential fires involve Christmas trees every year.

Now, more than ever, make sure you water that tree everyday. Also, place the tree away from heat sources like candles and space heaters. Make sure to check for any exposed wires in you lights, and don't overload extension cords. And always turn off your lights before going to bed.

In a worst case scenario, if your tree does catch fire, Garner says make sure to protect your family before protecting your gifts.

"Of course the first thing would be is to get everybody out of the house, and if it's early in the fire and small enough and you have the proper equipment, maybe a fire extinguisher you could try to put it out, but make sure you call 911 and get the fire department on the way," Garner said.

Garner says keeping these few things in mind over the holidays could keep you out of harms way. Another thing he said to keep in mind is to watch out for our pets. Cats and candles can be a dangerous combination. You may have followed all the right steps but your pet could get into something without you knowing, and then it could be too late.

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