Candle  sales in the United States amount to an estimated $2 billion annually, not counting the accessories that accompany them.   Thirty-five per cent of annual sales of candles are during the Christmas holidays.  Candles are found in 7 out of 10 households.   The glow of candles gives a beautiful ambiance to any room in the house.  However, fires from candles can bring about serious damage and risks to all. 

A study done by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that eighty-five per cent of candle fires could be avoided if consumers followed three basic safety rules:

  1. Never leave burning candles unattended; keep them within your sight.
  2. Never burn a candle near anything that could catch on fire.
  3. Always keep candles away from children and pets. 

One-half of home candle fires start because they have been placed too close to combustible material.  The majority of candle fires are because of human error and negligence.  There are more than 15,000 residential fires in the U.S. annually that are caused by careless use of candles. The majority of fires start by candles left burning in the bedroom.  According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the hours between Midnight and 6 a.m. account for one-half of all deaths resulting from candle fires. 

A common-sense approach to the use of candles in your home is the best.  With that in mind, here are some added tips:

  •          Each time you burn candles, trim the wicks ¼” before you burn them.
  •          Don’t burn them all the way down.
  •          Carefully read and follow manufacturers use and safety instructions.
  •          Always use candleholders specifically designed for candle use.
  •          Place them in a well-ventilated room, and on a stable surface.
  •          Avoid vents, drafts, and air currents.
  •          Never use a candle as a night light.
  •          When putting the candle out, be sure it is completely out. 

A grim reminder:  December is the peak month for fires that are started by candles.  The top five most dangerous days for fires from candles are, in order: (1) Christmas Day, (2) Christmas Eve, (3) New Year’s Day, (4) New Year’s Eve, and (5) Halloween. 

There’s nothing more beautiful than candles to give your home that perfect atmosphere.  They emit special fragrances into the environment, which adds to a festive mood.  We encourage you to enjoy using candles to express hospitality or simply for your own pleasure; just use the same caution as you would with any open flame. 


U.S. Fire Administration,  National Candle Association