The National Fire Protection Association is warning Coloradans to beware of holiday fire risks as celebrations begin this season.
Holiday cooking and decorations lead to an increased fire risk. According to NFPA, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are two of the top days each year for home fires caused by cooking and candles.
“For a lot of people, December tops the list for the most heartwarming time of year, but it’s also a leading month for home fires in the U.S.,” said Lorraine Carli with NFPA.
“Carefully decorating your home and mindfully cooking your meals can help make your holidays safer.”
Annually, 31% of home decoration fires happened in December and January. Of these fires, 44% occur because a decoration was too close to a heat source.
Between 2014 and 2018, decorations and Christmas trees caused 930 house fires each year on average, resulting in four deaths, 44 injuries and $21.4 million in property damage annually.
Cooking and candle fires also peak during the holidays.
Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are the second and third most common days for cooking fires, beat only by Thanksgiving. Cooking is the leading cause of house fires and house fire injuries.
Candle fires peak in December, with house fires started by candles being three times as likely on Christmas than an average day. Candles cause 7,610 house fires, 81 deaths, 677 injuries and $278 million in property damage annually.
To prevent these tragedies, NFPA recommends using flame-resistant decorations, testing smoke alarms and keeping decorations away from windows, doors and heat sources like candles.
More holiday fire safety tips are available online at nfpa.org.