Between 2009-2013, 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 7 deaths, 19 injuries, and $17.5 million in direct property damage annually.
On average, one of every 31 reported home fires that began with a Christmas tree resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 144 total reported home fires.
Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in 38% of home Christmas tree fires.
Twenty-two percent of Christmas tree fires were intentional.
Two of every five (39%) home Christmas tree fires started in the living room, family room, or den.
"Home Structure Fires Involving Christmas Trees" report, November 2015
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. Holiday decorations
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.
"Home Structure Fires Involving Decorations" report, November 2015. Candles
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.
"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.
"Home Fires Involving Cooking Equipment" report, November 2015. Fireworks
Ten percent of fireworks fires occur during the period from December 30 through January 3, with the peak on New Year's Day.
"Fireworks" report, June 2013.