New Lenox Fire Department: Beware of Holiday Candles

A quarter of home decoration fires happen in December and more than half of those are started by candles, says the New Lenox Fire Department.

Be careful with those candles. Credit: Joseph Hosey
Be careful with those candles. Credit: Joseph Hosey

From the New Lenox Fire Department:

Winter holidays are a time for families and friends to get together. But that also means a greater risk for fire.

A quarter of home decoration fires happen in December and more than half of those are started by candles. Half of the holiday decoration fires happen because decorations are placed too close to a heat source. Following a few simple tips will ensure a happy and fire-safe holiday season.


  • Be careful with holiday decorations. Choose decorations that are flame resistant or flame retardant.
  • Keep lit candles away from decorations and other things that can burn. NEVER use a lit candle to decorate a tree.
  • Use lights that have the label of an independent testing laboratory. Some lights are only for indoor or outdoor use, but not both.
  • Replace any string of lights with worn or broken cords or loose bulb connections. Connect no more than three strands of mini light sets and a maximum of 50 bulbs for the screw-in bulbs. Read manufacturer’s instructions for number of LED strands to connect.
  • Use clips, not nails, to hang lights so the cords do not get damaged.
  • Keep decorations away from windows and doors.

Christmas Trees

  • Choose a tree with fresh, green needles that do not fall off when touched.
  • Before placing the tree in the stand, cut 1-2” from the base of the trunk.
  • Make sure the tree is at least three feet away from any heat source, like fireplaces, radiators, candles, heat vents or lights.
  • Make sure the tree is not blocking an exit.
  • Add water to the tree stand. Be sure to add water daily.
  • Always turn off Christmas tree lights before leaving home or going to bed. 

Holiday Entertaining

  • Test your smoke alarms and tell guests about your home fire escape plan.
  • Keep children and pets away from lit candles.
  • Keep matches and lighters up high in a locked cabinet.
  • Stay in the kitchen when cooking on the stovetop.

Remember to turn off all light strings and decorations and blow out any lit candles before leaving or going to bed. For more information, contact the New Lenox Fire Protection District at 815-463-4500, visit our website or check us out on Facebook.

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