Wildfires aren’t the only danger this holiday season. Holiday traditions and winter heating contribute to the risk of house fires. Know the dangers so you can prevent the next fire.


According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an average of 25 house fires started by candles are reported each day, and Christmas, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the three worst days for candle fires. Keep candles on a flat surface away from flammable items. Don’t leave candles burning when you leave the room or go to sleep.

Dry Christmas trees pose another serious fire danger. Water yours daily to keep it from becoming a hazard. If yours does dry out, don’t risk keeping it around. Dispose of it immediately.

Electric lights can pose a danger as well. Don’t use lights with frayed or damaged wires, and never overload an electrical socket.


According to the NFPA, fireworks caused 15,600 fires in 2013. Even sparklers can cause severe injury and fire.

If you want to ring in the new year with fireworks, your best bet is to watch a professional display. If you decide to use consumer fireworks, stay safe:

  • Follow local regulations on fireworks.
  • Practice common sense safety precautions.
  • Remember that the fire risk is extremely high.

Cooking and Heating

Half of all residential building fires in 2015 were caused by cooking, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Another 10 percent were caused by heating.

Stay safe when you’re cooking your holiday meal.

  • Keep an eye on the kitchen.
  • Use timers to help you remember when to take items out of the oven.
  • If a fire starts in the oven, keep it closed and turn it off.
  • Keep flammable items away from the stove.
  • Have a fire extinguisher on hand, and make sure your smoke alarms are working.

If you’re using a space heater to stay warm, pick one that automatically turns off when knocked over.

  • Keep children and pets away from the heater.
  • Put the heater on a flat surface away from flammable items.
  • Never leave it on unattended — this includes when you’re sleeping.


Wildfires aren’t the only threat, but they’re definitely a threat. The Thomas Fire started on December 4 and has destroyed more than 1,020 structures, burned more than 260,000 acres and caused evacuations through Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. And that’s just one of the wildfires currently ravaging Southern California.

Keep an eye on the conditions in your area. Discuss evacuation plans with your family and have supplies ready to go. Download CAL FIRE’s Ready for Wildfire app to get alerts about wildfires in your area as well as tips.

Don’t cause the next wildfire.

  • Dispose of cigarettes responsibly.
  • Never park your car on dry grass.
  • Follow local regulations on burning yard waste, and avoid burning waste on windy days.
  • Follow park rules on campfires, and be sure to extinguish any campfires completely.

Have a wonderful and safe holiday season!