FIRE chiefs have issued an urgent warning that there could be more deadly candle fires this winter because of Covid.

Around 40% of candle fires end with someone killed or injured.

And fire safety experts fear that with more people at home because of the pandemic there could be more then normal this year.

Winter celebrations like Halloween and Guy Fawkes are times of high risk of tragedies can because people want to give them that traditional feel with a set of candles.

This week is Candle Fire Safety Week and local fire chiefs are asking people to make sure they ‘snuff out’ any risks.

Hereford and Worcester Fire Service say they have dealt with more than 100 fires started by candles in the last ten years.

In a quarter of cases people ended up in hospital, and a third of the fires were in homes with children or dependants.

Sometimes people are using them to add cheer to a celebration, other times people are using scented candles.

Most candle fires happen at night and in the living room or bedroom. Many are because people fall asleep or become distracted.

Station Commander Steve Andrews of the service’s Community Risk department said:

“Candles are a typical sight in many homes, scenting our rooms and giving an atmospheric glow to cold winter nights. but left unattended, an open flame could leave a trail of devastation.

“Many of us may be currently spending more time at home during the pandemic, so increased vigilance is called for.

Top Tips:

• never leave lit candles unattended. Always put them out when you leave the room, even for a moment

• place candles carefully on a stable surface, out of the reach of pets and children

• keep away from flammable objects like curtains, furniture, bedding and books

• don’t move candles once they are lit

• do not burn several candles close together as this might cause the flame to flare

• only burn candles in a well-ventilated room, out of drafts, vents or air currents - to help prevent rapid or uneven burning, soot, and dripping.

• put candles out with a snuffer or a spoon - sparks can fly if you blow them out

• always put scented candles in a heat resistant holder – they’re designed to liquefy when heated to maximum fragrance

• fit a smoke alarm and test it monthly

• make sure that everyone knows what to do if a fire happens– and practise your escape route

• If there is a fire, get out, stay out and call 999.