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Report: NFPA's "Home Structure Fires Involving Christmas Trees"
Author: Marty Ahrens
Issued: November 2015

The winter holiday season should be a joyous time of year. However, certain types of fires and injuries associated with holiday decorating are much more common during this season.  

Executive Summary

Christmas trees are a traditional part of the Christmas holiday. They can also be a major source of fuel in a fire.  

National estimates of reported home structure fires derived from the U.S. Fire Administration’s National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS) and NFPA’s annual fire department experience survey show that in 2009-2013, Christmas trees were the item first ignited in an estimated average of 210 reported home structure fires per year, resulting in an annual average of seven civilian fire deaths, 19 civilian fire injuries, and $17.5 million in direct property damage.  

On average, one of every 31 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires. 

This fact sheet and accompanying table describe the common causes and circumstances of these fires. These findings identify issues that should be highlighted for Christmas tree safety.

Home Structure Fires in which Christmas trees were first ignited

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