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Winter House Fires: Causes and Prevention


According to the US Fire Administration, approximately $2 billion in property loss occurs yearly from winter house fires. Although winter house fires do not make up a majority of the house fires in the US, they are among the most deadly house fires in the country. 890 people die each year in winter home house fires.

The threat of winter fires should not be taken lightly. With the holiday season falling in the winter, there are many potential fire hazards brought into houses. Winter house fires are unexpected and often devastating. Don’t let the holiday season be ruined, take precautions as you enter into the winter and prevent potential fires with some safety tips and smart thinking.

Kitchen Fires

A majority of winter house fires are caused by a heat source being too close to combustibles, which often happens in the kitchen. Most winter house fires take place between 5 pm and 8 pm due to cooking.

When you are cooking, be cautious. Don’t allow flammable things to come near heating sources such as a stove, whether gas or electric. Even if it’s not an open flame, a heat source can still start a fire. Don’t leave anything cooking unattended. Keep an eye on any children that may be able to reach heating sources.


Electrical fires can be hard to prevent as the problem is not always visible. But you can fix any electrical issues you are aware of. If you are consistently having a breaker switch, you may have electrical issues. Any exposed wiring is a potential hazard. With all of the lights that go up around the winter season, be sure that you keep any flammable materials away from the heat of the lights. Be smart with your wiring to avoid electrical fires.


Fires caused by candles are very common in the winter. Burning candles can bring a nice ambiance to your home, but it can also be a danger. Be sure that your candles are out of reach of any children, far away from any flammable materials, and never left unattended. It may be a small fire, but a candle is still an open flame and it can quickly get out of hand.


Space heaters are another common cause of winter house fires. These heat producers may warm your feet but keep them from warming your entire house by keeping anything and everything flammable away from them. Do not leave a space heater plugged in while you aren’t home.

Christmas Trees

Having a real pine tree in your home during the holidays bring charm and a great smell, but it can also be a danger when it isn’t cared for properly. Combine a dry and dead tree with the heat of electrical lights, and you’ll have a very fast moving fire. Be sure you keep your tree well hydrated, watering it daily. Christmas tree fires start fast and grow even faster. These fires are often the most dangerous.


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