(WMBF) - Nearly 40 percent of Christmas tree home fires occur in January, according to the National Fire Prevention Association.
"Christmas trees are flammable objects. The longer they're in your home, the more they dry out, making them a significant fire hazard," said Lorraine Carli, the NFPA vice president of Outreach and Advocacy.
Although the fires aren't common, when they do occur, they're more likely to be serious. On average, one of every 40 reported home structure Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, as compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home structure fires.
When people do dispose of their trees, NFPA recommends using the local community's recycling program, if available. Don't place the tree in the garage or left outside.
In addition, NFPA offers these tips and recommendations for safely removing electrical lights and decorations from Christmas trees, and ensuring that they're in good condition for the following year:
- When unplugging electrical decorations, use the gripping area on the plugs.
- Never pull the cord to unplug a device from an electrical outlet. (Doing so can harm the cord's wire and insulation, which can lead to an electrical fire or shock.)
- As you put away electrical light strings, take time to inspect each for damage.
- Throw out light sets if they have loose connections, broken sockets, or cracked or bare wires.
- Wrap each set of lights and put them in individual plastic bags, or wrap the lights around a piece of cardboard.