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Thursday, December 8, 2022
FairfaxFire officials warn of holiday fire threats to trees, decorations

Fire officials warn of holiday fire threats to trees, decorations

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The holiday season is a time for celebration, but also when many home fires occur, Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department officials said.

Department leaders shared these home-fire facts from the U.S. Fire Administration and National Fire Protection Association:

• Between 2015-19, U.S. fire departments responded to an average 160 home fires per year that started with Christmas trees. These fires caused an average of two deaths, 12 injuries and $10 million in direct property damage annually.

• Electrical-distribution or lighting equipment was involved in almost half of home Christmas-tree fires. Nearly one in five Christmas-tree fires were stared by decorative lights.

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• In nearly one-fifth of the Christmas-tree fires, some type of heat source, such as a candle or equipment, was too close to the tree.

• One in five Christmas-tree fires were intentional. These fires were more common in January.

• Almost two of every five home Christmas-tree fires started in the living room.
• U.S. fire departments from 2015 to 2019 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 one civilian fire death, 26 civilian fire injuries and $13 million in direct property damage.

• The decoration was too close to a heat source such as a candle or equipment in more than two of every five incidents.

• Year-round, more than one-third of home-decoration fires were started by candles. Cooking started 19 percent of decoration fires, 12 percent involved electrical-distribution and lighting equipment, heating equipment was involved in 11 percent, 8 percent were intentionally set and smoking materials started 7 percent.

• Candles caused 45 percent of home-decoration fires in December.

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