Did you know that according to the U.S. Fire Administration, “Christmas trees account for 250 fires annually, resulting in 14 deaths, 26 injuries and more than $13.8 million in property damage.” Based on data collected from 2002 through 2005, Christmas tree fires caused an average of 24 civilian deaths, 27 civilian injuries, and $13.3 million in direct property damage per year. Often the property damage includes neighbor’s homes that were engulfed by the initial fire.
In addition, in tests conducted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, studied showed that a dry Christmas tree was extremely susceptible to flames. The video below illustrates how quickly a scotch pine was engulfed by flames. Within three seconds of ignition, the dry Scotch pine is completely ablaze. At five seconds, the fire extends up the tree and black smoke with searing gases streaks across the ceiling. Fresh air near the floor feeds the fire. The sofa, coffee table and the carpet ignite prior to any flame contact. Within 40 seconds “flashover” occurs – that’s when an entire room erupts into flames, oxygen is depleted and dense, deadly toxic smoke engulfs the scene.
Read our article on Christmas tree fire safety.