Candle Safety


Candles are responsible annually for an average of 9,300 home fires, resulting in 90 deaths, 830 civilian injuries, and causing $374 million in property damage.

If using candles, make sure you apply the following safeguards:

  • Keep candles away from anything that can ignite.
    Candles should be at away from combustibles (such as curtains, bedding, carpet, paper products, Christmas trees, other combustible decorations, etc.) and there should not be any combustibles within several feet above a burning candle.
  • Always use sturdy non-combustible containers for candleholders.
    Use candleholders that are sturdy, won't tip over easily, are made of glass, metal, or ceramic and are large enough to collect all the dripping wax.
  • Remain in the same room as the candles; never leave them unattended.
    Unattended, abandoned, or inadequately controlled candles are the leading cause of home candle fires.
  • Place candles out of reach of children and pets, on a sturdy and uncluttered surface.
    Children tend to be fascinated with fire and do not see the danger. Matches or lighters should not be within the reach of children. Pets may knock over a candle.
  • Don't place the candles on windowsills or near drafts.
    Curtains are very flammable and could also knock down a candle when they are blown.
  • Always make sure the candles are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
    Consciously check the house. It only takes one time for disaster to strike if you forget.
  • Avoid buying candles that have combustibles embedded in or around them.
    These can easily ignite, spreading heat and fire.
  • Keep candlewicks trimmed to one-quarter inch.
    Also extinguish taper and pillar candles when they get within two inches of the holder or decorative material. Votives and containers should be extinguished before the last half-inch of wax starts to melt
  • Keep candles or open flames away from flammable or combustible liquids or vapor.
  • Open flame devices that use liquid or solid fuel must meet precautions.
    These devices must be able to return to an upright position when knocked over or self-extinguish and not spill fuel or wax at the rate of more than 1/4 teaspoon per minute.
  • Make sure you have working smoke detectors in your home.
    It is recommended you have a smoke detector on every level of the home, in the immediate area outside of the sleeping rooms, and in every bedroom.


CANDLE FIRES 3.PDF (208.3kb)
Additional Department Information

Fire and Life Safety Department Contacts

Medford Fire-Rescue Fire & Life Safety Division
200 South Ivy Street, Room #180
Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 774-2300
Fax: (541) 774-2514
Contact: Deputy Chief - Fire Marshal Greg Kleinberg
Hours: 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

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