NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Christmas Trees" (PDF)
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: November 2016
This report provides estimates of the causes and circumstances of home structure fires that began with the ignition of Christmas trees during the five-year period of 2010-2014. Trend data are also presented. Previously published descriptions of Christmas tree fires are also included to show how these fires can happen.
- U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 210 home1 structure fires per year that began with Christmas trees in 2010-2014. These fires caused an annual average of six civilian deaths, 16 civilian injuries, and $16.2 million in direct property damage.
- On average, one of every 34 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are much more likely to be deadly than most other fires.
- Four of every five Christmas tree fires occurred in December and January.
- In one-quarter (26%) of the Christmas tree fires and 80% of the deaths, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.
1Homes include one- or two-family homes and apartments or other multi-family housing.
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