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Holiday traditions cause almost half of residential fires

Holiday times are for good friends, good food and good times. But Cloquet Area Fire District members want you to have a safe time, too. The sad fact is that winter holidays are a deadly time of year, because our traditions include the most common causes of home fires.

In most years, cooking, candles and open flames account for almost half the residential fires in Minnesota. In the bustle and fun of the season, we can forget to be cautious--but at a high price, sometimes. Don't let a destructive fire ruin your holidays. Follow these safety tips and have a warm, safe and happy holiday season.

Around the Fireplace

Hang stockings elsewhere. Keep fireplace screen or doors closed. Don't burn gift-wrap.


Inspect your light sets for wear or damage. Discard damaged sets. Don't overload your home circuits and use no more than three sets of lights per extension cord. Never use electric lights on a metal tree. Turn out holiday lights before going to bed.


Leave three feet between candles and anything that will burn. Never leave candles unattended.

The safest candleholders surround the flame with protective glass.

Holiday Trees

Make sure your artificial tree is fire-resistant. Water real trees often. Place your tree and all decorations away from heat sources. Do not block exits.

In the Kitchen

Keep a fire extinguisher 10 feet from the stove, on the exit side of the kitchen. Cover a pan with a lid to smother flames. Keep pot handles turned to the back and don't leave towels or pot-holders on the stove top. Keep appliances clean and don't overload kitchen electrical outlets. Remember this: an electrical coil on a stove reaches a temperature of 800 degrees. A gas flame goes over 1,000 degrees. Your dish towel or pot holder can catch fire at 400 degrees. So can your bathrobe, apron or loose sleeve.