University of Missouri Extension

Candles Set Fires

According to the National Fire Protection Association, in 1996 candles caused fires which resulted in 126 deaths and $170.6 million in property damage. Since 1990, candle fires have risen more than 80%. These days candles seem to appear everywhere; sales have doubled.

Follow these tips to enjoy candles safely:

  • Place candles in the center of a 1 foot "circle of safety" from anything that could ignite.
  • Stop using candles less than inch long and keep all wicks trimmed to 1/4th inch.
  • Place candles on secure pieces of furniture in sturdy holders, and where children and pets can't tip them over.
  • Use candle holders large enough to collect drippings.
  • Don't use water to extinguish candles or anything involving burning wax - and always remember to extinguish candles when you leave the room or go to sleep.

Source: Playing with fire. (1999, September/October). USAA (Insurance Co) Magazine, p. 4.

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Last updated: March 09, 2005
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