How Far Can We See A Candle Flame

12.21.2018 By Liz Baker
How Far Can We See A Candle Flame


We invite you to light your council fire candle on December 24th. Details on this annual tradition below. **Repost of”How Far Can We See a Candle Flame” originally posted 12/19/2017 with updated photos from Final Council Fire 2018**

I recently heard that it’s possible for the human eye to see a candle flickering up to 30 miles away. How can that be true?

Upon further investigation (hello, Google), I found out that two physicists put this question to the test. By taking into account the study of starlight and candle light, these scientists found the farthest distance a human eye can detect a candle flame is more like 1.6 miles.

Now, I’m a big believer in science. And, I propose that our annual December 24th “Light Your Candle” tradition at Clearwater Camp exceeds all proven distances of how far we can see a candle flame. How can that be true? Let me share my theory.

It starts at Final Council Fire when Ellen and I light our candles using the fire’s flame. From our candles, we share the flame until every camper holds the same spark and spirit of Clearwater. As we sing, the beauty of candle light along the paths, illuminating the faces of Clearwater campers. It is magical.

The Council Fire Candle is that shared moment in time at the end of camp for generations of Clearwater campers. Since the early days of Halokwe to present day, campers have carefully packed their Council Fire Candles in their trunks only to have a parent at the other end exclaim, “What the heck is this?!” Melted, often with sand or a moth embedded in it, is the cherished Council Fire Candle.

Campers are quick to explain that the Council Fire Candle marks the end of camp and, as part of the tradition, is to be lit again on December 24th, to mark the founding of Clearwater Camp. These candles travel great distances, much more than 30 miles.

In carrying on with this tradition, I invite all campers to light your Council Fire Candle on December 24th. Celebrate the Clearwater light that you carry out into the world. Like candles, our campers radiate confidence, courage, compassion and community to all corners of the world. Are you an alumna whose Council Fire Candle is long gone? Then I encourage you to light a candle on December 24th and reconnect with this timeless Clearwater tradition.

For added fun this year, and to prove my theory that a candle flame can be seen way beyond 30 miles, please post a photo of yourself with your candle using #cc4gseemycandle – and be sure to include your location. Let’s see just how far a Clearwater candle flame can be seen.

Blessings to you and your family this holiday season.


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