- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota’s fire marshal is warning residents of the added risk of home fires during the holiday season.

Fire Marshal Paul Merriman says residents often begin putting up lights, trees, candles and other decorations just after Thanksgiving, both inside and outside homes.

Merriman says each one of those holiday trappings carries a potential fire risk. He says if trees, candles and lights are not handled properly, they can become a fire hazard.

More cooking during the holidays also leads to an increased fire risk in the kitchen. The National Fire Prevention Association says 40 percent of home fires start in the kitchen, and the leading cause of kitchen fires is unattended cooking.

Merriman says one important way to guard against fires is to have working smoke detectors.

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