How quickly your holiday can go up in smoke - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

How quickly your holiday can go up in smoke

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - With everything going on this time of year, it's easy to get distracted, and that can lead to tragedy.

To prove it doesn't take much to have a Christmas-related tragedy, San Diego Fire took a green, fairly moist tree that was on a lot just two days ago and put a flame to it.

"That is the best case scenario. You can probably have a home where you have a tree that's dried out, turning brown on the edges, that would have gone up so much more quickly," Chief Javier Mainar said.

Chief Mainar says trees must be at least three feet away from heat sources, including fire places.

"If you shake the tree as you're looking at it and needles fall off, you're bringing a big problem into your home," Mainar said.

Joining the fire department for this demonstration Tuesday was the Burn Institute, reminding us to make sure our little ones are sleeping in fire resistant pajamas, which don't burn nearly as quickly as non-fire resistant items like a t-shirt.

They also want to remind parents that the kitchen is not a safe area for young children.

Between holiday cooking, shopping and getting your house ready for guests, it's easy to lose your focus. But Chief Mainar puts it all in perspective.

"The most important thing is not all of that stuff. It's not the things in your home, it's the lives of everybody there, and you want to protect them by paying more attention you would otherwise," he said.

If you have a fake tree that you use year after year, make sure you check the lights on it. The cords can crack after a while, causing an electrical fire.

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