Keep Safe This Holiday; Be Aware of Candles and Holiday Tree Fires

Posted at 12:35 p.m.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, December is the peak time of year for home candle fires. Candles start two out of five home decoration structure fires, and the top three days for home candle fires are Christmas, New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve.

Be fire smart as you deck the halls for a festive holiday season with these tips.

  • Use battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and feel like real candles.
  • If you do use lit candles, put them in stable holders and place them where they can’t be knocked over.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches away from anything that burns. Never leave a burning candle alone.

Christmas Tree Fires

Although Christmas tree fires are not common, when they do occur, they are more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 32 reported home Christmas tree fires results in a death compared to an average of one death per 143 total reported home fires.

  • Water your Christmas trees every day. A dry tree can easily catch on fire.
  • Keep your Christmas tree at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, radiators, space heaters, candles or heat vents. Don’t let them block your exits.
  • Inspect your holiday lights each year before you put them up. Throw away strands with frayed or pinched wires. Read the manufacturer’s instructions for the number of light strands to connect.
  • Turn off all holiday lights before going to bed or leaving your home.
  • One of every four home Christmas tree fires is caused by electrical problems.
  • A heat source too close to the tree causes one in every four Christmas tree fires.

Learn more from the U.S. Fire Administration or the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.

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Official emergency information about preparedness, response and recovery from Fairfax County Government.