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Holiday decorations traditionally center around the warm, glowing aura of the fireplace. A garland wreaths the mantelpiece, and a Christmas tree sits right beside, while the family appreciates the warm collective glow of lights, candles, and the fire.

Please be careful during the holiday season!

  • • When choosing a spot to place your Christmas tree, keep space between it and your fireplace or stove. Most fireplace manufacturers recommend that combustibles (like your tree) be kept at least three feet away from the sides of the fireplace, and at least five to ten feet away from the front.
  • • Make sure your artificial tree has a “fire resistant” label. All manufactured trees will burn if exposed to sufficient heat, but trees labeled as fire resistant will resist catching fire longer, and extinguish faster, than those that are not.
  • • If you have a live tree, keep its water reservoir full to keep as much water as possible flowing through the tree. The dry heat in our homes dries live trees out fast, and dry wood is, of course, extremely combustible.
  • • Don’t let combustible decorations like garlands or stockings hang too close to the fireplace opening. Hot air rises right out of the fireplace and moves up the wall. The underside and front of the mantelpiece can become very hot!
  • • Don’t burn wrapping paper or cardboard boxes in your fireplace or stove. The inks can contain chemicals which the fireplace is not hot enough to properly burn. Also, these materials can burn too quickly and too hot for some prefabricated fireplaces to contain.
  • • Use common sense with candles and other open flame: do not use them unattended, burn them only on a stable surface, do not put them in your Christmas tree, keep pets and small children away from them, and do not burn them completely down.
  • • If you hang Christmas lights, follow the manufacturer’s directions. Do not use light strings with worn-out cords or missing bulbs, and don’t overload power outlets. Consider upgrading to LED light strings, which do not burn as hot as the old filament style bulbs, and use less energy into the bargain.
  • • Be careful with portable heaters and other heat-generating items. Keep them away from draperies, upholstery, and other flammable materials, and do not run them unattended.


The National Fire Protection Association has a great page on winter fire safety. Visit it here!

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