Count to three. That\u2019s how long it takes for a dry Christmas tree to go up in flames.\nIn fact, the sap found in natural Christmas trees is combustible, creating a serious fire hazard for your home during the busy holiday season. It can take as few as 10 seconds for a tree fire to spread \u2014 and less than one minute for a home to be destroyed in a house fire.\nFortunately, fires during the holiday season can be prevented. For starters, keep your tree watered and clear of potential fire hazards, such as open flames.\nAt the\u00a0UPMC Mercy Burn Center, medical director\u00a0Jenny Ziembicki, MD,\u00a0and her staff of burn specialists see an increase in burn patients during the holidays.\n\u201cIt\u2019s unfortunate but true,\u201d Dr. Ziembicki says. \u201cThere are so many hazards people are unaware of this time of year that can cause serious burn injuries.\u201d\nHow to Prevent Burn Injuries During the Holidays\nHandling Hot Food Items During the Holiday Season\nTypes of related burns include:\n\nFlame and splash burns from cooking with hot oil\nSpilling hot water, food, or grease from the oven\nHot chocolate burns\nCrock pot burns\nBurns from hot cookie trays\n\nTips for Avoiding Food-Related Burns\n\nWhenever working with hot food and liquids, ensure the cooking area is free of obstacles and distractions.\nUse oven mitts when handling hot items.\nAlways have a plan for where you will place a hot item so you can avoid extended contact.\nTest the temperature of liquids before serving.\n\nGrease Fires While Cooking\nMake sure that everyone working in or helping out in your kitchen is aware of how dangerous hot grease can be.\n\nEnsure pot handles are turned toward the middle of the stove to avoid accidental spillage.\nIf a grease fire occurs, turn off the heat source.\nIf the fire is contained to a pan or pot, cover it with a lid or cookie sheet. Never attempt to extinguish with water.\nDo not attempt to move the pan to the sink or outside. If the grease fire is not contained to a pot, a chemical fire extinguisher can be used. If you are unable to safely extinguish the fire, evacuate and call 911.\n\nHome Safety During the Holidays\nSome examples of safety related burn injuries include:\n\nChristmas tree fires\nMouth burns from children chewing on Christmas tree lights\nHouse fires in homes without working smoke detectors\nFurnace explosions\n\nTips to Prevent House Fires\n\nKeep natural trees watered and away from heat sources, such as fireplaces and candles.\nInspect lights for damage and frayed wires.\nDo not overload electrical outlets.\nNever leave lights or candles unattended. Monitor children\u2019s activities and educate about the dangers surrounding flames and electrical sources.\nChange the batteries in your smoke detectors at a minimum of annually.\nHave your furnace inspected and cleaned annually.\n\nRisks Associated with Space Heaters and Fireplaces\nSome examples of injuries related to space heaters include:\n\nFalling face-first into space heater\nSleeping too close to space heater\nComing in contact with the glass door of fireplace\nComing in contact with a space heater\nExplosion of fireplace with burns to face and chest\n\nIf a burn injury occurs, stop the burning process quickly. Remove any clothing or substance involved in the burn injury. Cool the area immediately with cool water.\nDo not apply ice, ointment, or other home remedy. Apply a dry dressing and present to the emergency department for evaluation.