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Contact: Caley B. Fisher, Media and Public Education Specialist

Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC)


DFPC Encourages a Fire-Free Holiday Season

Make the holiday season a happy time by practicing these safety habits.


DENVER —The holiday season is a joyous time but unfortunately, it presents many opportunities for home fires to occur. The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) urges Colorado families to remember the importance of fire safety and prevention.


Christmas trees are involved in approximately 400 fires annually, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), typically resulting in more than 12 deaths, dozens of injuries and more than $10 million in property loss and damage. Short-circuiting tree lights are cited as the leading cause.


“A beautifully decorated live Christmas tree is a holiday tradition for many households across this country. However, these trees pose serious danger when allowed to become dry,” said DFPC Director Paul Cooke. “Tree fires, which can have tragic consequences, are preventable if you follow a few simple steps.”


Human error and carelessness cause most fires and related deaths and injuries.

USFA reports that candles cause more than 17,000 home fires, resulting in about 180 deaths and 1,575 injuries each year. The top four days for home candle fires are Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, and New Year’s Eve.


By following these simple, but often overlooked, safety tips you will be well on your way to a safe and happy holiday season.


Holiday Fire Safety Tips


  • When purchasing an artificial tree, look for a "Fire Resistant" label.
  • When purchasing a live tree, check for freshness. Make sure the needles are soft and are not falling off. Hard, brittle needles are signs of a dry tree, which can easily catch fire.
  • Do not block your exit door with your tree.
  • Remove live trees from your home as soon as possible. Most Christmas tree fires occur on or after New Year’s Day.
  • Always keep the base of a tree in water.  All Christmas trees will dry over time with or without water. Take down the tree before it dries completely.



  • Never use lit candles to decorate a tree. Always extinguish candles before leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Place Christmas trees, candles, and other holiday decorations at least three feet away from heat sources like fireplaces, portable heaters, radiators, heat vents and candles.
  • Designate one person to walk around your home to make sure that all candles and smoking materials are properly extinguished after guests leave.
  • Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm near your kitchen, on each level of your home, near sleeping areas, and inside and outside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed.


About the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC)

Our Mission is to provide leadership and support to Colorado communities in reducing threats to lives, property and the environment from fire through fire prevention and code enforcement; wildfire preparedness, response, and management; and the training and certification of firefighters.