North Shore Fire reminds Christmas tree buyers of dangers

CREATED Nov. 26, 2012

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WHITEFISH BAY - 'Tis the season to put up those Christmas trees and lights, but authorities are giving a word of warning before you do just that.

The North Shore Fire Department told TODAY'S TMJ4's Melissa McCrady about the decorations most likely to start a fire.

The number one reason: candles.

"Candles are by far the worst as far as starting a fire," explained NSFD Battalion Chief Steve Brennan.

Real Christmas trees come in second on the list, according to Brennan.

"Even though you're watering it, there's only a certain time that tree is going to take on water.  Then it's going to die out, then it's going to turn brown.  Leaves are going to fall off.  Once that happens, it's very flammable," warns Brennan.

Additionally, "people are tired.  They forget to turn off the lights on the tree, forget to water the tree, forget to extinguish the candle."

Brennan says that if people are going to buy a real tree, they should hold off as long as they can so the tree stays fresh.

He also suggests being extra cautious during the holiday season.

The department is holding its "Keep the Wreath Red" campaign as part of a nationwide effort.