State Fire Marshal: Candle Wax, Flames and Water Don’t Mix

Wednesday October 12, 2022

Contact: Julie Robinson, 208-334-4312

On October 13, 2022, the Idaho Department of Insurance amended its original October 12, 2022, press release to correct the number of home candle fires reported each day.

BOISE, ID (October 12, 2022) – As the holidays approach, the Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office is warning Idahoans against using water to douse candle fires.

Wax that melts and puddles from the candle is a fuel. Like a grease fire in the kitchen, applying water to the flame allows it to spread onto anyone or anything nearby that can burn.

“The best way to extinguish a fire is to blow it out or put a lid on it,” says Knute Sandahl, Idaho State Fire Marshal. “If you can take away the oxygen, the flame will go out. That’s the safest way to do it.”

The State Fire Marshal’s office is sharing this clip from a CBS affiliate in Pittsburgh. It is a consumer alert on the dangers of using water to put out a candle (warning: contains graphic images)

On average there are 25 home candle fires reported each day, but the top days for home candle fires are Halloween (jack-o-lanterns), Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day, and New Year's Eve. Additional candle safety facts include:

  • More than 1/3 of home decoration fires are started by candles
  • Keep candles 12 inches away from anything that burns
  • Never leave a burning candle unattended.
  • Blow out all candles when you leave the room or go to bed. Avoid the use of candles in the bedroom and other areas where people may fall asleep.
  • Use candle holders that are sturdy and won’t tip over easily.
  • Light candles carefully. Keep hair and any loose clothing away from the flame.
  • Don’t burn a candle all the way down — put it out before it gets too close to the holder or container.
  • Never move a candle while burning.
  • Don’t move a container with melted wax.
  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles.

For more fire safety information, visit or follow Idaho State Fire Marshal’s Office on Facebook.


About the Department of Insurance

The Idaho Department of Insurance has been regulating the business of insurance in Idaho since 1901. The mission of the Department is to serve and protect Idahoans by equitably, effectively and efficiently administering the Idaho Insurance Code and the International Fire Code. For more information, please visit us at or email us at

About the State Fire Marshal

The State Fire Marshal’s Office participates in and coordinates an integrated statewide system designed to protect human life from fire and explosions through fire prevention, investigation and public education activities. The program involves fire prevention activities, fire/arson investigation, code enforcement and the operation of the National Fire Incident Reporting System. The State Fire Marshal’s Office provides assistance to local fire agencies throughout the state.

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