Firefighters showed just how quickly a Christmas tree on fire can burn down an entire room, warning families to be careful this holiday season.

A live-streamed video demonstration by the Orange County Fire Authority showed an ignited tree being quickly swallowed by flames, filling a staged living room with suffocating plumes of smoke.

Orange County Fire Authority demonstrates holiday tree fires in a Storyful video on Dec. 13, 2022.

“An entire Christmas tree can be completely consumed by fire in three to five seconds and generate over 2,000 degrees of heat,” said OCFA.

The aggressive flames spread quickly to a nearby couch, sitting chair and coffee table. Fire crews say synthetic materials typically found in home furniture will burn quickly while releasing toxic chemical fumes.

OCFA says the threat of fires increases dramatically during the holiday season with the majority of threats caused by holiday cooking, candles and Christmas trees.

The most common causes of tree fires include electrical failure of wiring, lights and heat sources such as candles or space heaters placed too close to the tree, said OCFA.

Some tips to prevent holiday tree fires according to the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched
  • Ensure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source such as fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit
  • Add water to the tree daily
  • Use holiday lights that are listed by a qualified testing laboratory
  • Do not use string lights with worn/broken cords or loose bulb connections
  • Never use lit candles to decorate the tree
  • Always turn off tree lights before leaving the house or going to bed