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Bonfire safety

​​Building a bonfire

Fire can spread easily, so where and how you build your bonfire is important:

  • build the bonfire away from sheds, fences and trees
  • check there are no cables, like telephone wires, above the bonfire
  • don’t build the bonfire too big and make sure the stack is stable and won’t collapse outwards or to one side
  • use only dry material - damp material will cause more smoke, which could annoy your neighbours or be harmful to people with breathing difficulties
  • only burn (non-contaminated) wood or plant type materials
  • don’t burn any aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint – many produce toxic fumes and some containers may explode causing injury
  • remove any rubbish from the area around the bonfire so no one is tempted to throw something on to the fire
  • check the bonfire before lighting it – piles of garden waste are sometimes used as a refuge by hibernating wildlife
  • don’t use petrol or paraffin to get the fire going – it may get out of control quickly

Bonfire safety tips

Once the bonfire is lit, make sure you:

  • keep a bucket of water, or a garden hose, nearby in case of emergencies
  • don’t leave the bonfire unattended
  • keep children and pets away from the bonfire
  • don’t throw fireworks into the fire

Once the bonfire has died down, spray the embers with water to stop it reigniting.

If you're planning a bonfire

The law restricts the types of waste you can burn to (non-contaminated) wood or plant material.

However, you should take reasonable steps to ensure that your fire is safe and that the smoke produced doesn't cause undue nuisance to neighbours. 

If you're planning a bonfire of any type on your property, you should inform the Fire Service of the location, date, time and duration, in case of reports of fire from concerned members of the public.

Download Bonfire Advice leaflet (size 436kb)

Firework safety

​​If you're planning to use fireworks during any celebrations, make sure you use them as safely as possible. Follow the tips on the following pages to help keep people​ and pets safe on the night.​​

Firework safety
Organising a firework display
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