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   SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois fire officials are offering tips for a safe holiday season.

   The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal says there were a dozen fires linked to holiday decorations, Christmas trees and other recreational materials in December 2012. That resulted in more than $85,000 of damage.

   State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis says one of the keys to safety is to avoid overloading extension cords. His office also recommends using lights that have a label of an independent testing laboratory and knowing whether they're designed for indoor or outdoor use.

   Fire officials say if you have a real Christmas tree, make sure it's watered. Also, make sure the tree isn't blocking an exit and is at least three feet away from a heat source.

   

 
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