The Curry Coastal Pilot

Colorful holiday lights are appearing on houses, in windows and on Christmas trees. Wreaths and stockings will soon be hanging above the fireplace. Candles and incense are being lit to create that special mood.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but underneath all the sparkling, happy symbols of holiday cheer lies potential danger.

The Pilot and the Brookings Fire Department offers the following tips to keep the holiday safe.

andbull;Don't put your live Christmas tree up too early or leave it up for longer than two weeks. Place trees (and decorations) away from heat sources, including fireplaces or heat vents. The heat will dry out the tree, causing it to be more easily ignited by heat, flame or sparks. Keep the live tree stand filled with water at all times.

andbull;Don't link more than three light strands, unless the directions indicate it's safe. Connect strings of lights to an extension cord before plugging the cord into the outlet.

andbull;Never leave burning candles unattended. Consider using battery-operated flameless candles.

andbull;Check the batteries in your smoke alarms. Replace the alarms if necessary. Buy a small fire extinguisher andndash; the price is worth saving life and property.

Enjoy the holidays, but do it safely. The last thing the Pilot wants to do is write a story about a tragedy that could have been avoided.