- Between 2010-2014, U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 210 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. These fires caused an average of 6 deaths, 16 injuries, and $16.2 million in direct property damage annually.
- On average, one of every 34 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.
- Some type of electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in one-third (35%) of home Christmas tree fires.
- Twenty-three percent of Christmas tree fires were intentional.
- Two of every five (38%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.
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.
- Ten percent of decoration fires were intentional.
- The decoration was too close to a heat source such as a candle or equipment in nearly half (45%) of the fires.
- One-fifth (20%) of the decoration fires started in the kitchen. One out of six (17%) started in the living room, family room or den.
One-fifth (20%) of the home decoration fires occurred in December.
Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Decorations" report, November 2015.
- Candles started 38% of home decoration structure fires.
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.
Source: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Decorations" report
, November 2015.
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.
- Ten percent of fireworks fires occur during the period from December 30 through January 3, with the peak on New Year's Day.
Source: NFPA's "Fireworks" report, June 2013.