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Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious.
Picking the tree
Placing the tree
Lighting the tree
Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Christmas Trees" report, November 2016
A live Christmas tree burn conducted by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) shows just how quickly a dried out Christmas tree fire burns, with flashover occurring in less than one minute, as compared to a well-watered tree, which burns at a much slower rate.
U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 860 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees, in 2009-2013. These fires caused an annual average of one civilian fire death, 41 civilian fire injuries and $13.4 million in direct property damage.
One-fifth (20%) of the home decoration fires occurred in December.
Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Decorations" report, November 2015.
Half (51%) of the December home decoration fires were started by candles, compared to one-third (35%) in January to November.
The top three days for home candle fires were Christmas, New Year’s Day, and Christmas Eve.
Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
Cooking equipment was involved in 18% of home decoration fires. This can happen when a decoration is left on or too close to a stove or other cooking equipment.
Source: NFPA's "Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment" report, November 2016.
Deputy Director/911 Coordinator
John Bashaw II
Senior Communications Specialists