By Kelly Werthmann

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – Christmas Day has come and gone, but many of us leave our halls decked and trees lit through the New Year. Those of use with real trees are likely seeing them dry out a bit, and Arvada firefighters are warning that can easily lead to a holiday disaster if you’re not careful.

(credit: Arvada Fire Department)

“It’s like bringing a wildfire into your home,” Michelle Cherniske, Public Information Officer for Arvada Fire Protection District, said.

If trees are not watered enough, old electrical decorations spark or a candle is too close by, your holiday season can go up in flames in a matter of seconds.

“It’s incredibly fast,” Cherniske explained. “It only takes 3 minutes for a room to get engulfed in flames. If you have a dry Christmas tree, it can take just one minute for it to completely be enflamed.”

Arvada Fire crews demonstrated how quickly a dry Christmas tree can turn to Christmas kindling by sharing a video on Facebook and Twitter. Their message is to not keep a tree in your home for too long.

“You have this dry material inside your home and it can easily catch fire from an electrical shortage with the decorations that we have around, if you have any flammable things like a candle nearby,” Cherniske said. “Christmas is unfortunately over, so it’s time to be careful about those combustible materials. We just recommend that you get those trees out of your home.”

(credit: cpsc.gov)

With the holiday season coming to a close, also Arvada recommends giving your decorations a safety check.

“We always tell people to check for fraying, check for damage when you’re taking things out for decorating for the holidays,” Cherinske said, “but it’s a good idea to check it before you even start packing those things up.”

And, until you take your tree down, make sure it drinks up plenty of water.

“Keep it healthy until you remove it from your home,” Cherinske said.

RELATED: Christmas Tree Recycling Locations And Information | Don’t Throw Away Those Old Christmas Lights, Recycle Them!

Arvada Fire also shared 10 Holiday Safety Tips from the National Fire Protection Association.

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.

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