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Christmas tree fires

Report: "Christmas Tree Fires” 
Author: Marty Ahrens and Radhika Maheshwar
Issued: December 2020


Report highlights

Based on 2014-2018 annual averages:

  • From 2014 to 2018, US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 160 home structure fires per year that began with Christmas trees. These fires caused an annual average of two civilian deaths, 14 civilian injuries, and $10.3 million in direct property damage.
  • Christmas tree fires are more common during the hours when people are awake, peaking between 6:00 p.m. and midnight
  • More than two of every five home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.
  • Electrical failures or malfunctions were factors in almost one-third (thirty-one percent) of Christmas tree fires.
  • In more than one-fifth (22 percent) of Christmas tree fires, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.

Home fires that started with Christmas trees by month