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

North Westside residents can dispose of their unwanted bulky items between June 30 and July 14, 2021. (File photo)
North Westside residents can soon get rid of unwanted bulky items

Large household items can be disposed of at North Westside Transfer Station June 30 to July 14

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D area. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control to Electoral Area D; director calls for respectful discussion

The new Civic Memorial Park will incorporate pieces of the 80-year-old arena it replaces. (Artists rendering)
Pieces of Civic Arena reclaimed for new Vernon park

City centre space to incorporate wood from the historic arena

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read