Annual Christmas Tree Fire Safety Demonstration

The 2018 Event

On December XX, 2018, the UMD Department of Fire Protection Engineering will host its 5th Annual Christmas Tree Fire Safety Demonstration. The demo will consist of a series of live fire experiments on both natural and artificial Christmas trees to show the burning behavior (size, intensity, and growth rate) of typical Christmas tree fires. These experiments will demonstrate the impact of moisture content on ignition, fire growth rate, and peak burning behavior – proof that it is vital to maintain well-hydrated trees.

Registration is required to attend this media event, and space is limited. Please register online at: TBA


Christmas tree fires are four times more deadly than the average house fire. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), U.S. fire departments respond to an annual average of 210 home structure fires that begin with Christmas trees. These fires cause an annual average of six civilian deaths, 16 civilian injuries, and $16.2 million in direct property damages. One out of every 34 reported home Christmas tree fires resulted in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 total reported home fires.


December XX, 2018, from approximately 8:00 - 10:30 a.m.


Department of Fire Protection Engineering
3106 J.M. Patterson Building (near the corner of Stadium Drive and Regents Drive)
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Spokesperson Availability

Isaac Leventon, Ph.D. (pictured above)
Department of Fire Protection Engineering alumnus and NRC Postdoctoral Research Associate with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Fire Research Division

Program Schedule

Please arrive at least 30 minutes before demonstrations begin so that we can remain on schedule. Volunteers will meet you on site to escort you through our laboratory facilities, and assist with set-up.

8:30 a.m. Introductory Fire Dynamics Discussion: What is a flame, flammability fundamentals, and controlling mechanisms of fire growth; Christmas Tree Fire Safety Tips

8:50 a.m. Small Scale tests – Natural vs. Artificial tree branch fires

9:00 a.m. High Moisture Content Natural Tree Burn

9:15 a.m. Low Moisture Content (Dry) Natural Tree Burn

9:30 a.m. Effects of Sprinklers on Tree Burn

9:50 a.m. Presentation of Measurements (Fire growth rate, peak fire size)

10:00 a.m. Question / Answer Session

Media Contacts

Additional media information can be obtained by contacting Katie Doyle (301-405-0379, or Melissa Andreychek (301-405-0292,

Directions and Parking

Department of Fire Protection Engineering
3229 J.M. Patterson Hall (Fire Research Laboratory)
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

Visitor parking is available one block away at the Regents Drive Garage, located at the corner of Regents Drive and Stadium Drive (diagonally across the intersection from the J.M. Patterson Building). Parking validation codes will be provided and parking spaces for media will be blocked off on the top floor of the garage.