COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) – During the holidays, the kitchen is typically filled with a lot more people, as it’s a time that brings together friends and family. It can also be the most dangerous as kitchen fires skyrocket this time of year. 

According to the National Fire Protection Association, Thanksgiving Day is the peak day for cooking fires. They say there’s over 4,000 fires reported each Thanksgiving.

Fire Marshal Division Chief, John Shull, said there are many factors that lead to the increase of house fires during the holidays.

“You have a lot of distractions during Thanksgiving,” said Shull. “The football game is on. You have a lot of family members there. There’s entertaining going on and it’s a lot. We see this throughout the year, but we see this most often during Thanksgiving.”

Local fire officials recommend maintaining a 3 foot radius around your cooking area that is free of children and combustible items like paper and boxes. Shull mentioned the stovetop and oven will be very hot, making the cooking area no place for children. Instead, he recommends any young helpers should stay just outside of that 3 foot radius.

Shull said residents should never leave appliances on, such as stove tops and ovens, while unattended. He also mentioned, people should make sure all pot or pan handles are turned inwards, away from the counter. With the chaos of cooking a Thanksgiving feast, someone in the household is bound to bump into a handle, which can cause severe burns or even a fire.

Shull added that families should always have portable fire extinguishers on hand and make sure the smoke detectors work. 

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, an estimated average of 2,300 residential fires were reported to fire departments across the nation on Thanksgiving Day each year from 2017 to 2019. These fires caused an estimated annual average of five deaths, 25 injuries and $26 million in property loss.

Fire and EMS officials nationwide typically sees 3 times the daily amount of fires on Thanksgiving day compared to any normal day of the year. Cooking remains the leading cause of all Thanksgiving Day fires in residential structures.