Skip to main content

Candles and Open Flames

​The use of candles for decoration or for lighting is not recommended. Safer alternatives for mood lighting include electronic flicker candles, flashlights, and/or battery-operated lanterns.

All plans to use candles must be reviewed and approved by the EHS Office.  Candles are only allowed during events in designated areas with fire safety precautions and ONLY with an approved Open Flame Permit.

The use of open flames (sternos, chafing dishes, candles, etc) for serving food is allowed in certain rooms if adequate safety precautions are taken. A safer option is to use electrical warming trays, crock pots or outdoor ovens (outdoor use only).

If you want to pursue the use of open flames as part of decorative arrangements or for serving food, contact the EHS Office with your proposed safety precautions. These include:

  • The use of Flame Retardant Materials near and under the candles

  • The use of hurricane type glass candleholders

  • Not leaving lit items unattended

  • Placing matches and burnt candles in water before disposal

An individual who will be on hand at the event during the entire time of the open flame will be required to attend training and a fire extinguisher will be made available for the event. 



An Open Flames Permit for Special Events will be issued by the EHS Office (713-221-8040) after:

  • The review and approval of the safety plan

  • The required training, which includes classroom training on fire safety and hands-on training for the use of a fire extinguisher

Once the Open Flames Permit has been issued, see the UHD EHS Office to check out an approved fire extinguisher for your event.

The permit must be posted during an event that includes the following activities and/or items:

  • Candles (limited with approval)

  • Open flames in assembly areas (fire performing acts outdoors only)

  • Sternos or chafing dishes used with food warmers

  • Open burning ( barbecue pits only)

    • Liquefied petroleum gases (i.e. propane for cooking or other uses – outdoors only);

    • Additional training required for the use of Compressed Gas Cylinder Safety

    • An ABC dry chemical fire extinguisher must be on site during the event

  • Pyrotechnical effects materials or fireworks for special events  (outdoors only - City of Houston Permit required)

  • Temporary membrane structures, such as tents and canopies

  • Deep fry cooking in outdoor cooking booths must use vegetable or animal oils or fats only (allowed on a limited basis with approval from EHS)

    • The vendor is required to have at least one listed Type ‘K’ fire extinguisher, with a current inspection tag, available during the event

Back to Top               Back to Guideline Topics

Last updated 11/13/2019 3:32 AM