Revised on
07/18/17 10:36am
SafetyNet #

Candle and Open Flame Guidelines

A. Summary

UC Davis Campus policies prohibit the use of candles or open-flame devices in almost all campus facilities. Candles are prohibited from use in the dormitories under any conditions. Candles may be used in very limited capacities (e.g. a Unity candle at a wedding) at other campus facilities only after obtaining a Candle/Open Flame Permit from UC Davis Fire Prevention Services. Organizations with requirements for candles during formal functions may purchase battery-operated candles which are suitable for such purposes. A minimum of 72 hours is required to obtain the permit. The permit application is completed online, and submitted electronically to Fire Prevention. Contact Fire Prevention for any additional questions.

B. Guidelines

Title 19, the California Fire Code and UC Davis campus policy requires candles and other open-flame decorative devices to be used, when permitted, in accordance with the following rules and guidelines:

  1. Hand-held open-flame devices are prohibited inside buildings.
  2. Flammable and combustible liquids and LP-gas shall not be used.
  3. Liquid or solid-fueled lighting devices containing more than 8 ounces (236.6 ml) must self-extinguish and not leak fuel at a rate of more than 1/4 teaspoon per minute (1.26 ml per minute) if tipped over.
  4. The devices or holder shall be constructed to prevent the spillage of liquid fuel or wax at the rate of no more than 1/4 teaspoon per minute (1.26 ml per minute) when the device or holder is not in an upright position.
  5. The device or holder shall be designed so that it will return to the upright position after being tilted to an angle of 45 degrees from a vertical position.
    Exception: Units that self-extinguish if tipped over and do not spill fuel or wax at the rate of more than 1/4 teaspoon per minute (1.26 ml per minute) if tipped over.
  6. The flame shall be enclosed except as follows:
    1. Openings on the side shall not be more than 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) diameter.
    2. Openings on the top of the candle holder and the distance to the top of the flame shall be 1 inch and such that a piece of tissue paper placed on the top will not ignite in 10 seconds.
  7. Floating candles must still keep the top of the flame at least 1 inch below the glass top.
  8. Chimneys shall be made of noncombustible materials, and shall be securely attached to the open-flame device.
    Exception: The chimney need not be attached to any open-flame device that will self-extinguish if the device is tipped over.
  9. Fuel canisters shall be safely sealed for storage.

10. Storage and handling of combustible liquids shall be in accordance with Chapter 34 of the California Fire Code, Flammable and Combustible Liquids.

11. Shades, if used, shall be made of noncombustible materials and securely attached to the open-flame device holder or chimney.

12. Candelabras with flame-lighted candles shall be securely fastened in place to prevent overturning, located away from occupants using the area, and away from possible contact with drapes, curtains, or other combustibles.

13. Open flames, such as candles, shall not be located on or near decorative material or similar combustible material.

Exception: Linen tablecloths

14. Candles shall be prohibited in areas where occupants stand, or in an aisle or exit.

15. Permittees will be required to have a fire extinguisher in the room where the candles are being used. For events where only one or two candles are used, and a fire extinguisher is not immediately available, the Fire Prevention Division MAY authorize the use of a 1-gallon bucket of water to be kept in close proximity to the open flames.

C. Candle Light Procession/Vigil

  1. Candle light processions/vigils must use candles with drip guards, or must be battery-operated. Tea light candles are also acceptable as long as they are not hand-held and are contained in an approved holder. Pillar candles will be approved outdoors only. Open flame candles must be accompanied by a designated person carrying a fire extinguisher for the duration of the procession/vigil. Hand-held open flame devices are prohibited inside facilities. Processions/vigils are to extinguish candles prior to entering university facilities.
  2. Student-sponsored procession/vigil coordinators should contact the Center for Student Involvement for assistance in holding an event, including compliance with fire/open flame regulations, and to access permitted or approved candles.
  3. UC Davis Fire Prevention Services encourages the use of battery-operated candles as a substitute for open-flame candles. Battery-operated candles are a safe, and clean alternative to typical wax candles.

‚ÄčAll candles and holders must be approved by UC Davis Fire Prevention Services prior to use.

The following types of votive/tea light candles and holders are APPROVED:

Candle Holders

The following types of candles are APPROVED for candle light processions/vigils:

Vigil Candles

Pillar Candles and votive/tea light candles in which the flame is not at least 1 inch below the holder opening are NOT PERMITTED.

Pillar Candle