Fire Officials: Take Down Christmas Lights, Trees

Noel Daniel|

The National Fire Protection Association has one more tip for those who decked the halls with candles, outdoor lights, and lit trees: take those decorations down as soon as possible.

Roughly 40 percent of house fires that were reported around the holidays occurred in January. The report specifically names those who keeps their trees up after the Christmas holiday.

“The longer they are in the home, the more dangerous they become. The continued use of seasonal lighting and dried-out trees can pose significant fire hazards in and outside the home,” said Lorraine Carli, vice president of Outreach and Advocacy for NFPA. “Proper disposal of the tree from your home will minimize the risk and will keep the holiday a joyful one.”

Although tree fires are not common, they are often fatal when they do occur. One of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in a fatality.

Now that the holidays have passed, trees should be recycled as soon as possible. To recycle a Christmas Tree, call Turlock Scavenger for curbside pick-up. For more information, call 209-668-7274. Do not leave trees in the home, or just waiting outside.

Electric decorations also pose a risk. When unplugging, be sure to use the gripping area on the plug. Never pull the cord to unplug from an electrical outlet. This can cause damage to the cord’s wire and insulation, leading to electrical fire or shock.

When putting away string lights, take time to inspect them for damage and throw out light sets with loose connections, broken sockets or bare wires. Do not, by any means, place a damaged set of lights back into storage for use next year. Finally, when storing lights, wrap each set and store in individual plastic bags, or around pieces of cardboard. Put the lights in a safe, dry place where they cannot be reached and damaged by water, children, or pets.

For more information, including more tips about how to stay safe this winter, visit the NFPA’s website at

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