"Each year, nearly 156,000 fires in the United States occur during the winter holiday season claiming nearly 630 lives, 2,600 injuries, and $936 million in property damage. Of these, 47,000 residential structure fires kill 530, injure 2,200, and cause an estimated $554 million in property damage. Fire loads increase throughout the home during the holiday season. Many homes are decorated with seasonal garlands, electric lights, candles, banners, or displays. Probably the most popular addition to the home during the holiday season, and a significant fire hazard, is the Christmas tree. Dried - out fir and pine Christmas trees ignite easily and can accelerate fire growth by spreading rapidly to nearby combustible materials in the home."
U.S. Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/
Topical Fire Report Series (December 2002), v.3 no.2