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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

Grand Forks RCMP say the deceased’s car fell off Highway 3, west of the city. File photo
Motorist killed in Highway 3 crash was a Castlegar man: Grand Forks RCMP

The man’s family has been notified, according to Cst. Corey Flodell

Les Cleverly, formerly of Grand Forks Fire/Rescue, is suing the city as well as current and former city firefighters over alleged workplace bullying and defamation. File photo.
Former Grand Forks firefighter suing department, city over alleged conspiracy, constructed dismissal

Plaintiff Les Cleverly filed a notice of civil claim with the Supreme Court of BC in last week

Grand Forks RCMP, left, and Grand Forks Fire/Rescue attended a fatal Highway 3 crash Thursday evening, Jan. 21. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Motorist dies in Highway 3 crash west of Grand Forks

City first responders were called to the scene Thursday evening, Jan. 21

Grand Forks RCMP and Grand Forks Fire/Rescue near the scene of a motor vehicle accident Thursday evening, Jan. 21, in the vicinity of Highway 3 near the intersection of Danshin Village Road. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
First responders attend Highway 3 crash near Grand Forks

It is not known how many people were involved in the accident

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

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

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

A 75-year-old aircraft has been languishing in a parking lot on the campus of the University of the Fraser Valley, but will soon be moved to the B.C. Aviation Museum. (Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Vintage military aircraft moving from Chilliwack to new home at B.C. Aviation Museum

The challenging move to Vancouver Island will be documented by Discovery Channel film crews

A video posted to social media by Chilliwack resident Rob Iezzi shows a teenager getting kicked in the face after being approached by three suspects on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (YouTube/Rob i)
VIDEO: Security cameras capture ‘just one more assault’ near B.C. high school

Third high-school related assault captured by Chilliwack resident’s cameras since beginning of 2021

Most Read