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Colorado fire officials warn of uptick in candle fires during the holiday season

candle fire.jpg
Posted at 6:55 PM, Dec 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-01 23:42:40-05

SUPERIOR, Colo. — It doesn't take long for a small candle to become a big problem. This month, Colorado firefighters expect to respond to more calls for fires started by candles than they typically do.

"The holidays are a big uptick in candle fires, especially with Christmas and Hanukkah and the use of candles," said Deputy Fire Marshal Doug Saba with Mountain View Fire Rescue. "New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are some of our biggest days for those types of fires."

He said candles aren't the only issue — it's also all the extra stuff people may have in their homes this time of year, including holiday decorations, presents and heaters. All of those can help a fire spread once one gets started.

The National Fire Protection Association collected data from 2015 through 2019 and found fire departments across the U.S. responded to roughly 7,400 house fires caused by candles each year. Those resulted in $291 million in property damage.

The consequences of a candle fire aren't just financial. According to the NFPA, candle fires claim the lives of around 90 people each year and cause hundreds of injuries.

Mountain View Fire Rescue has responded to at least five candle fires so far this year.

"A candle was lit in a bedroom, and it was on a nightside. The party went to take a shower, and the window was just open enough that the drape was blowing into that candle, and it caught the drape," Saba said. "Once they came out of the shower, they saw that their room was completely involved in a fire."

Firefighters say these fires can be prevented through the following safety tips:

  • Do not leave a burning candle alone
  • Make sure the candles are at least three feet away from anything flammable
  • Consider swapping out traditional wax candles with an LED alternative.

"Enjoy your holidays, enjoy your time with your family and don't have that stress of worrying about an open candle," said Saba.