WESTPORT — Fire officials in town are urging residents who still have a Christmas tree in their homes to consider getting rid of it this weekend.

A third of house fires in United States that begin with Christmas trees happen in January.

With that statistic in mind, even the National Fire Protection Association encourages everyone to remove their trees from their homes promptly after the holiday season.

“Christmas trees are combustible items that become increasingly flammable as they continue to dry out,” said a statement from Lorraine Carli, NFPA’s vice president of outreach and advocacy. “The longer you keep one in your home, the more of a fire hazard it becomes.”

NFPA statistics show that while Christmas tree fires aren’t exactly common, they do occur — and are very likely to be serious when they do.

Anuual, on average, one of every 45 reported house fires that start with a Christmas tree have resulted in death. In comparison, reported home structure fires typically result in one death out of every 139 fires.

Carli said that although all Christmas trees can burn, a dried-out tree can become engulfed in flames in just a few seconds.

“In recent years, we’ve seen tragic incidents where Christmas tree fires have resulted in deadly consequences for multiple family members, including young children,” Carli said.

“Again, get rid of it,” Westport fire officials said.