One-third of Christmas tree fires start in January, according to the National Fire Protection Association. (Unsplash photo)

One-third of Christmas tree fires start in January, according to the National Fire Protection Association. (Unsplash photo)

Christmas tree still up? So is your fire risk

Dry Christmas trees pose fire hazard, fire safety experts warn B.C. residents

That Christmas tree glow might be comforting during the transition into 2021, but it comes with a serious fire risk.

If your tree is still standing, it’s time to take it down.

Roughly 36 per cent of home fires that begin with Christmas trees occur in January, according to data from the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA), a U.S. nonprofit aimed at eliminating injury and death related to fires.

“The drier [the tree] becomes the more risks associated with that,” said Chris Jancowski, chief of Esquimalt Fire Rescue. “After they’ve had the Christmas celebration it’s time to start thinking about recycling that tree.”

The association published a report on Christmas tree fires in December, writing that the longer a natural tree is up after Christmas, the more likely it is to dry out and ignite. Using U.S. fire department data, the NFPA found electrical distribution or light equipment is involved in almost half of home Christmas tree fires.

READ ALSO: Fatality confirmed in Christmas Day fire in North Cowichan

Jancowski noted many people now use safer LED lights on their trees, but incandescent, higher-voltage lights are still in circulation. He said he hasn’t seen people using candles on their trees for years, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still happening.

“A lot of these factors also depend on how diligently they have been watering the tree,” he noted.

In the event a tree catches fire, the room can be up in flames in under one minute.

“Once they start, it’s hard to stop them because of how much dry fuel is involved,” Jancowski said. “You should make sure they are watered on a daily basis and always have a working smoke alarm and a working fire extinguisher.”

Trees should be placed away from fireplaces, floor heaters and other heat sources, according to the Canada Safety Council (CSC).

By January, it’s time to start thinking about next steps and removing the tree from your home – even if that means just taking it outside for now. On its website, CSC recommends disposing of real trees within 10 to 14 days of purchase or when the needles begin to fall off in large quantities.

For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

READ ALSO: Firefighters put out artificial Christmas tree someone put in fireplace


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: nina.grossman@blackpress.ca. Follow us on Instagram.
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Christmas treefireHouse fire

Just Posted

Tyler O’Neill has a shot at making the NL all-star team. (Taka Yanagimoto/St. Louis Cardinals)
An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air traffic at Pitt Meadows Airport returning

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Emiko Nakai will attend Warner Pacific University in Portland, Oregon next year. (Special to The News)
Three SRT Titans earn scholarships

Maple Ridge’s Emiko Nagai, Lucas Hutchinson, and Cade Armour will take talents to college level

Alex Tablada found himself captivated by the stunning beauty of nature recently while walking some trails in Maple Ridge. He had to share the view that befell him of the Golden Ears Mountains. "I have a lot of beautiful photos of this area that I'd like to share regularly in the coming weeks," he shared. (Special to The News)
Day-use passes needed for Golden Ears Park to ensure safety, protect environment

The second phase of its free day-use pass pilot program rolls out June 22 in five provincial parks

ARMS president Ken Stewart and director John Dale on the banks of the Alouette River where the subdivision is proposed. (Neil Corbett/The News)
Maple Ridge hosts public hearing on riverfront development tonight

ARMS, Katzie First Nation and many others oppose subdivision

People watch a car burn during a riot following game 7 of the NHL Stanley Cup final in downtown Vancouver, B.C., in this June 15, 2011 photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Geoff Howe
10 years ago: Where were you during the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riots?

Smashed-in storefronts, looting, garbage can fires and overturned cars some of the damage remembered today

(Black Press Media file)
Dirty money: Canadian currency the most germ-filled in the world, survey suggests

Canadian plastic currency was found to contain 209 bacterial cultures

(pixabay file shot)
B.C. ombudsperson labels youth confinement in jail ‘unsafe,’ calls for changes

Review states a maximum of 22 hours for youth, aged 12 from to 17, to be placed in solitary

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Eleonore Alamillo-Laberge, 6, reads a book in Ottawa on Monday, June 12, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Parents will need to fight ‘COVID learning slump’ over summer: B.C. literacy experts

Parents who play an active role in educating their children this summer can reverse the slump by nearly 80%, says Janet Mort

The border crossing on Highway 11 in Abbotsford heading south (file)
Western premiers call for clarity, timelines on international travel, reopening rules

Trudeau has called Thursday meeting, premiers say they expect to leave that meeting with a plan

The B.C. government’s vaccine booking website is busy processing second-dose appointments, with more than 76 per cent of adults having received a first dose. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations stable for Tuesday

108 new confirmed cases, 139 in hospital, 39 in intensive care

A worker, at left, tends to a customer at a cosmetics shop amid the COVID-19 pandemic Thursday, May 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Half of cosmetics sold in Canada, U.S. contain toxic chemicals: study

Researchers found that 56% of foundations and eye products contain high levels of fluorine

Most Read