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 Stay safe for the holidays with fire prevention.

Festive celebrations, flickering lights and winter greens are hallmarks of the holiday season, but they also present fire risks that can quickly turn this festive time of year into a devastating one. NFPA works to educate the public about potential fire risks during the holidays, offering tip sheets, videos, and other resources to help everyone safely enjoy the season.


Winter Holiday Fire Facts

  • U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 790 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees. These fires caused an annual average of 4 civilian fire deaths, 33 civilian fire injuries and $14 million in direct property damage.
  • Electrical distribution or lighting equipment was involved in more than two in five home Christmas tree fires.
  • Nearly one in five Christmas tree fires were started by lamps or bulbs. Eight percent were started by candles.
  • Roughly two of every five home Christmas tree fires started in the living room.
  • Candle fires peak in December and January with 11 percent of candle fires in each of these months.
  • Thanksgiving is the peak day for home cooking fires, followed by Christmas Day and Christmas Eve.
  • Year round, one-third (33%) of home decoration fires were started by candles. This jumped to almost half in December when candles started 46% of such fires. Cooking started one-fifth (19%) of decoration fires.

Source: NFPA’s Applied Research

Christmas tree & decoration fires

Carefully decorating your home can help make your holidays safer. Between 2017-2021, US fire departments responded to an average of 150 home fires that started with Christmas trees per year. US fire departments responded to an estimated average of 793 home structure fires per year that began with decorations, excluding Christmas trees.

In the throes of holiday shopping and decorating? Also see: UL white paper: Reducing the Fire Hazard of Pre-Lit Artificial Christmas Trees

Christmas tree disposal

As Christmas trees dry out, they become more and more flammable. Thirty percent of Christmas tree fires were in January. Although Christmas tree fires are not common, they can grow very fast.

Holiday cooking

In 2021, the three leading dates for home structure fires caused by cooking were: Thanksgiving, Christmas day and Christmas Eve. That’s why it’s important to know what you can do to help keep your friends and family safe while entertaining for the holidays.