PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Panama City Fire Department held a demonstration showing what can happen if your Christmas tree catches on fire.

Having a real Christmas tree is a holiday tradition for some families and keeping your tree fresh for Christmas day is no easy task.

Panama City Fire Department officials simulated a real tree catching on fire.

“We’re so excited for a reason for the season, and we’re so excited because our families are coming in,” said Lt. Howard Demro with the Panama City Fire Department. “We still celebrate and enjoy this time of year, and we tend to get complacent about helping our safety in our homes.”

Faulty wiring, too many plugs, a lack of water, or keeping your tree close to a space heater could result in a house fire. Lt. Demro recommended boiling water to help keep your tree from drying out and dying. Demro said to inspect all your Christmas lights before hanging them on the tree.

“The longer you keep the tree, it will continue to die,” said Lt. Demro. “The tree that we had behind us was roughly about two weeks old. It was unwatered for the past two weeks, and you could see the amount of burns we had on it. A lot of the actual structure of the tree didn’t burn, but the needles went up really quickly and really fast, and the amount of heat they put off ultimately caught the couch, which was adjacent to the tree, on fire as well.”

After being cut, a Christmas tree only has a 30-day life span. Lt. Demro said Christmas tree fires are rare, but they burn intensely and quickly spread.

“If you would have taken this same scenario and put it inside a home with a roof, and four walls, the heat wasn’t able to get away,” said Lt. Demro. “It was good to find that area we would have had a lot more smoke. We would have had a lot more heat of intensity, which would have caught more things on fire today, but being outside allowed some of the heat to get away from the presence on the other side of the tree and focus on the couch.”

Other tips to prevent a fire this Christmas include ensuring you have recently tested your smoke alarm and have an escape plan and a fire extinguisher ready to go.