STROUD TOWNSHIP, MONROE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together but that also means a greater risk of a fire.

Setting up lights and holiday displays are part of the season that can be the most joyous time of year, but can also be dangerous.

“A Christmas tree, a dry Christmas tree can become fully involved in 20 seconds.”

Dave Smalley and others with the Stroud Township Volunteer Fire Department showed Eyewitness News Tuesday morning, just how devastating a tree fire could be.

“Around the holidays, it hits harder for everybody. They have everything ready and everything gets lost,” said Tyler Corbett.

As part of its Christmas tree fire training simulation with the help of the Monroe County Office of Emergency Management, officials want to spread awareness about holiday safety, such as keeping decorations at least three feet away from a heating source, keeping a real tree watered, and having smoke detectors.

“Early warning is key. Following fire safety tips, having two ways out of your house, practicing what’s going on, where to meet, all those things are important,” said Smalley.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than two of every five decoration fires happen because they are placed too close to a heating source.

“The holidays are stressful enough and just to have a fire on top of that would really you know put a damper on things and it seems as though that this time of year there are more tragic fires than in another time of the year,” said Marv Walton.

As volunteer firefighters are in high demand, but in short supply, Stroud Township continues to recruit new members for what they call the most rewarding job.

David Engbrechy says, “unfortunately you’re usually dealing with somebody at their worst of times but you’re absolutely helping them out and you’re able to walk away and know you helped someone out.”

In addition to needing more volunteers, the Stroud Township Volunteer Fire Department says it needs community support for fundraising.