MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s hard to believe, but Christmas is exactly one week away. With the holidays come plenty of Christmas lights and candles as well as extra use out of that chimney for winter fires.

With all that comes an increased risk for fire hazards in your home. While it’s the last thing we want to think about, keeping fire hazards in mind during the holidays will make everyone’s celebrations happier and most importantly safer. St. Paul Fire Marshal Steve Zaccard gave us some tips on how to make sure we can avoid fires in the home despite the extra hazards.

Zaccard said while the holiday season is the most festive of the year, it also tends to be the deadliest with fires in the home. He said if you’re going to buy an artificial tree for Christmas, start by making sure you purchase one that is fire resistant. If you opt for a real tree, keep it watered and be sure it doesn’t get so dry that needles start falling off. The dryer the tree, the faster it burns.

Also, when Christmas is over and it’s time to get rid of your tree, do it outside and away from your home or any building so it isn’t a tempting target for an arsonist.

Zaccard said homeowners also need to be aware of cooking during the holidays. Many will be making large family meals, and careless cooking is one of the leading causes of building fires. Zaccard said don’t leave your kitchen while you cook, have a fire extinguisher close by if something happens. For candles, make sure you have a sturdy candle or even use a flameless candle with an electronic light.