Be careful with candles during the holiday season

Candles 002December is the peak time of year for home candle fires according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Each year, an estimated 15,600 home structure fires started by candles are reported to local fire departments resulting in an estimated 150 deaths, 1,270 injuries and over $500 million in estimated property loss.

Did you know that 38 percent of home candle fires started in the bedroom? Falling asleep was a factor in 12 percent of home candle fires and 26 percent of the associated deaths. The top five days for home candle fires were Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, New Year’s Eve, and Halloween. More than half of all candle fires started when something that could burn, such as furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains, or decorations, was too close to the candle.

There are many tips to avoid a tragic fire in your home this holiday season. Extinguish all candles when leaving the room or going to sleep. Keep candles at least 1 foot away from things that can catch fire, like clothing, books and curtains. Use candleholders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily. Keep candlewicks trimmed to one-quarter inch, and extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get to within two inches of the holder. Votives and containers should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt.

For more information about programs through Snohomish County Fire District No. 1, please call 425-551-1200 or visit the Snohomish County Fire District No. 1 web site at

  1. My Thanksgiving was great yet it was a close call. A lit patio candle was a bit of temptation to one of my young nephews who lit a napkin. I walked outside to get them to take a family picture and there was the flames on the ground near the patio chairs with cushions. Don’t leave lit candles without adult supervision.

    QPlease make sure there is smoke detectors throughout your residence plus use flameless candles in bedrooms and elsewhere if just a scent is needed. Disaster does not take a holiday. Be safe and celebrate.

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