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HOW TO PROTECT YOUR TREE

Some holiday fire safety tips from the Raleigh Fire Department and Progress Energy:

* Inspect your tree lights for damaged wires and bulbs. Check extension cords and plugs for fraying, cracks and loose connections.

* Use surge protectors, light sets or wired artificial trees certified by Underwriters Laboratories.

* Take great care with candles.

* Don't leave your kitchen stove unattended, and be careful of distractions while you cook.

* Buy a fresh Christmas tree -- one with branches that spring back when bent without shedding too many needles. Get a fresh cut an inch thick on the trunk, and then keep the tree in a stand with at least 2 inches of water.

* Don't put your tree next to air vents, fireplaces or heaters.

* Make sure there's no exposed wiring near your tree.

* Turn off all tree lights and decorations when you go to bed or leave the house.

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