If you went out and bought a live Christmas tree after Thanksgiving, then the tree has already been indoors a couple of weeks with two more to go before Christmas Day.

Brian O’Keefe of the Des Moines Fire Department says you need to maintain the tree properly to keep it safe through the holiday. O’Keefe says some of the trees come from as far away as the northwest and may already be a little dry. He says you should run you hand over a branch and be sure the needles aren’t falling off, and your tree should be okay.

O’Keefe says the position of your tree can make a big difference in keeping it from drying out — if the tree is by a warm window, or base heater, it can dry out very rapidly and become a fire threat.

Also, be sure the tree is stable in its base as O’Keefe says a tall tree can fall into a candle or a fireplace, or kids and pets and knock the tree over.

O’Keefe says testing shows dry trees can erupt into flames very quickly because a tree has all the fuel and fire loads built into it, plus plenty of air. He says a tree fire can develop quite rapidly and become unmanageable in 10 to 15 seconds.

Video showing how quickly a Christmas tree fire can spread.