Latkes sizzling, dreidels spinning, menorahs burning… They may love the first two Hanukkah traditions, but Israeli firefighters have come to dread the Festival of Lights for the menorah-related surge of house fires it brings, the Associated Press reports. Many Jews light the holiday candles “too close to the drapes,” firefighters say; Jerusalem fire department spokesman Asaf Avres told the AP the menorahs children make in kindergarten often topple over, posing another fire threat. Hanukkah typically sees a jump of 10 to 15 percent in house fires, Avres said. The report comes as northern Israel battles a raging forest fire that has already killed 40 people.
Rather than host a public menorah-lighting, the fire department marked the start of the holiday by releasing safety guidelines, including common-sense tips like keeping fire extinguishers or buckets of water close at hand. Stateside, the Orthodox Union offered up its own advice on “Chanukah Burn and Scald Prevention.”