CANDLES are a “frequent cause” of house fires, the region’s fire service has warned.

Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service (DWFRS) responded to 48 fires that involved a candle between January 2021 and May 2023.

The data, obtained by a Freedom of Information request, shows December to be the busiest month for candle fires, with seven recorded in December 2021 alone. 

January was also a month of high activity; in January 2021, crews were called out to five candle fires. 

DWFRS group manager Wayne Jones said: “Unattended candles are a frequent cause of house fires.

"We would urge anyone who uses candles at home to take extra care and follow our simple advice on how to stay safe.”

The fire and rescue service has also issued its ‘candle safety top tips’.

The advice is to never leave burning candles unattended, make sure they are secured in a fire-resistant holder and away from furniture and curtains, keep loose clothing and hair away from lit candles, and never burn a candle right down to the holder.

The fire service also suggested using a snuffer or spoon to extinguish candles - as it is safer than blowing them out which can cause sparks to fly - and to always leave at least 10cm between burning candles, and never place them underneath shelves or other enclosed spaces.

Specific advice for tea lights was shared too; DWFRS say they should only be used in a proper holder as the foil container can get extremely hot and melt the surface it is on.

But it is not the first time DWFRS has issued a warning over specific fire causes; in April, the service reminded the public of dangers surrounding heated hair appliances.

It followed a house fire in Blandford Road, Upton, which had been caused by a set of hair straighteners. 

Speaking at the time, a DWFRS spokesperson said: “If using appliances with heating elements, such as hair straighteners, then please always remember to ensure they are turned off and cooled safely before leaving unsupervised.”