My family refuses to let me anywhere near the stove or oven while preparations are underway for Thanksgiving dinner.

There is good reason, mind you. They fear I will burn the place down. It might stem in part from the time my grandmother were cooking and set the stove and refrigerator on fire.

True story.

Now I learn that my family's fears, especially on Thanksgiving, are not unfounded.

More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than any other day of the year. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reports that three times as many home fires occur on that holiday compared with the average day,with Christmas Day and Christmas Eve not far behind.

“Holiday decorations and candles can also be fire hazards, but cooking is still the No. 1 cause of home fires,” said Anna O’Donnell, spokesperson with AAA MountainWest. "Home fires also tend to increase during the winter months because people are using their fireplaces and other heating equipment more often.”

Before you bake, broil, grill, sear or fry, remember these five tips for fireproof feasts:

  • Everyone loves hanging out in the kitchen – which can lead to bumps, spills and other injuries, especially when kids are involved. To minimize accidents and divert traffic, put snacks, games and toys in another room.
  • Avoid an overcooked meal or worse by having someone on cooking duty at all times. If you have to leave, turn off cooking equipment.
  • If you are sleepy or have consumed alcohol, step away from cooking and designate a “driver” to take the lead.
  • Smother grease fires with a metal lid or baking soda. Never use water and make sure to turn off the heat. If a fire starts in the oven, turn off the heat and keep the door closed.
  • Have a fully functional fire extinguisher handy for emergencies. Call 911 for help.

By the way, I am excellent at clean up, washing and drying dishes.