WILLISTON, N.D. - The holiday season is full of annual traditions, but there's one thing the Williston Fire Department is trying to prevent.
Every year, the department says Christmas trees are to blame for hundreds of house fires. And it's not just a dry, neglected tree next to faulty wires that make the season extra prone to fires, it's decorations, candles, holiday cooking, fire places and wood stoves burning hot and of course, the electric space heater.
This year, the Williston Fire Department is joining the "Keep the Wreath Green" program as a way to remind residents to practice fire safety. Every fire station in town has a green wreath with green bulbs. For every structure fire from the first of December until the 31st, one of those green bulbs will be replaced with a red bulb. Friday, the fire department replaced a second green bulb with a red one.
"The public, when they're driving by can see that something has happened, and it'll put in their mind that, 'Hey, maybe I need to think about fire safety a little bit more,'" said Mike Fronimos, battalion chief, PIO.
Fronimos says it's important to make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home, and if you have a natural Christmas tree, keep it hydrated and use UL approved electrical lights. He says dry trees are incredibly hazardous.
"When a tree ignites, it's like a Roman candle that goes up. So not only is that dangerous for us as responders coming in when a fire flashes, but obviously with the homeowner," said Fronimos.
Fronimos says you can also protect your family by practicing exit drills in the home and making sure everyone knows how to get out in case of fire, especially if you have family or friends staying the night.