Having been extinguished, a candle can be relit from the resulting trail of smoke, even from meters away.

However despite this apparently high level of heat, paper, bystanders, etc… are never significantly affected.

So what causes the wick to reignite without a transfer of heat being a danger to other objects.

for example: https://youtu.be/7hG7Mbkj2AQ

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Is this what you are referring to? huffpost.com/entry/relight-candle-smoke_n_7298012 $\endgroup$
    – Bob D
    Apr 14, 2021 at 20:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Can you put any more about why the smoke relight might be dangerous from an "apparently high level of heat" when presumably the burning candle does not? I would otherwise assume that they might be somewhat similar in heat production. $\endgroup$
    – BowlOfRed
    Apr 14, 2021 at 20:22
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ That video makes it much more clear what OP is asking about. The question could be greatly clarified. The wording makes it sound like you can wave the candle in its own smoke trail and have it relight. $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Apr 14, 2021 at 20:27
  • $\begingroup$ That video is great, I've never noticed how there is such a wave of flame, or how it's that bright, thank you. :) You can use any flame, from a fair distance if the smoke doesn't spread out too much, and thankfully it tends to spread out in strands. It's knowledge an older family member got from his close family, as well as various popular science videos and articles on the subject. $\endgroup$
    – alan2here
    Apr 14, 2021 at 20:40

1 Answer 1


When a candle is lit, the smoke has some wax content that can be lit. This is why you can quickly relight the candle by putting a match against this smoke. However, the rest of the air does not have any wax content, so will not be lit by the match's flame. Also, the smoke is only lit on fire for a very short amount of time, so even if your fingers were close to the smoke, you wouldn't even register any heat.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ This is right. As a tangent to the last part of the question, the wax, not the wick, is the primary fuel when the candle is burning normally too. If it were just the wick, the end would burn up and be gone very quickly. $\endgroup$
    – Brick
    Apr 14, 2021 at 20:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.