KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Rural Metro Fire, Knox County is reminding residents of how an unwatered Christmas tree can quickly become a firestarter.

Each year, millions of dollars in property damage is caused by fires during the holiday season. Many homes have had Christmas trees inside for a few weeks now, making for a potentially dangerous situation if an unwatered tree is placed near a heat source.

Heat sources could be older Christmas lights that run hotter than their modern equivalents or a nearby space heater.

Rural Metro demonstrated how fire could rapidly spread inside the home if trees are not properly placed or watered.

“If that had been in a closed room like someone’s living room or a den then clearly you will find more fuel,” Jeff Bagwell with Rural Metro Fire said. “The temperature will rise inside that closed container and therefore it will ignite everything in that room.”

Rural Metro also reminds resident to check their outdoor decorations as well.