Candles, Open Flames

Effective: Moved to Policy Library from UPM 12.12(19)
Updated/Revised: March 2021
Contact: Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S)


Candles and open flames, when used incorrectly or left unattended, can ignite combustible materials. Fires caused by candles and open flames can result in loss of life and/or the destruction of millions of dollars worth of property.

Policy Statement

The use of candles and open flames is not allowed in campus buildings, on university grounds, or in association with university-sponsored events or functions, except as indicated below.


  • Classroom or laboratory: Fire may be used in the course of classroom and laboratory exercises for purposes of instruction when conducted under the supervision of the instructor.
  • Kitchens: Open flames are permitted in kitchens when used for purposes of food preparation.
  • Outdoor grilling: Cooking materials such as propane, charcoal, lighter fluids are not allowed to be stored in buildings.
  • Field trip: Campfires may be set off the campus as part of university field trips under supervision of university faculty or staff so long as they comply with any local regulatory authority.
  • Outdoor experience: Campfires may be set off the campus as part of university-sponsored recreational outdoor experiences so long as they comply with any local regulatory authority.
  • Religious and cultural events: Candles or other open flames may be used for ceremonies and functions of religious, cultural, social and honorary groups and events. The use of candles or open flame devices must adhere to the following guidelines:
    • Liquid or solid fueled lighting devices (e.g. Sterno® cans) must self-extinguish and not leak fuel if tipped over.
    • Candles must be in a secure and sturdy candle holder and located away from combustible materials.
    • Candles must be extinguished immediately after the ceremony or function is complete.
  • Hot work permit program: Open flames are permitted when covered by the Hot Work Permit Program.
  • Student event: The Student Organization Event Authorization Committee reviews and may authorize or deny the setting of fires on or off campus as part of a student event.