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Candle Fire Safety
Fires caused by the use of candles in our homes have increased dramatically over the last two decades. Sales of candles are up, $2.3 billion in 2001 and it is estimated that 7 of 10 homes use candles today. Candles cause an estimated 15,600 fires in residential structures, 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries, and $539 million in estimated direct property damage each year.
  • Over half (55%) of home candle fires start because the candle is too close to some combustible material.
  • More candle fires (38%) begin in the bedroom than in any other room. Falling asleep is a factor in 12% of home candle fires and 26% of the associated deaths.
  • Half of all civilian candle fire deaths occur between Midnight and 6am.
  • December is the peak month for candle fires; Christmas is the peak day.
  • Young children and older adults have the highest death risk from candle fires.
  • The risk of a fatal candle fire appears higher when candles are used for light.


Some simple fire safety rules related to the use of candles can significantly reduce the possibility of a devastating fire in your home.

  • Allow nothing that can burn within a one foot safety circle around a burning candle.
  • Don’t put candles in windows near blinds or curtains.
  • Never put candles near Christmas trees, decorations, clothing or paper.
  • Trim all candle wicks to ¼ inch; put out the candle when it burns down to 2 inches high.
  • Always extinguish candles after use, when leaving the room, and when going to bed.
  • Keep candles out of children’s and pets reach. (Keep matches and lighters away too!)
  • Use sturdy metal or glass holders that won’t tip over, that are big enough to collect melted wax.
  • NEVER LEAVE LIGHTED CANDLES UNATTENDED, and burn candles only with constant adult supervision.
  • Keep away from flammable liquids as the flame can ignite fumes.
  • Flashlights are safer than candles during power failure.
  • Avoid carrying lit candle and don’t use a lighted candle in a closet looking for things.
  • Never use a candle for light while refueling equipment with kerosene or gas. The flame will ignite fumes.