Garden BBQs are a UK tradition, and bonfires and firepits can extend the time spent outside due to the not-so-reliable British weather.
However, fire is dangerous and can easily lead to tragedies without proper care and safety.
This article covers two areas:
Read on for our fire safety tips to keep you and your loved ones safe.
BBQs and fire pits encourage us to make the most of the great weather, but you need to extinguish them properly to avoid a fire. Leaving them to sizzle out isn’t a good idea.
Here are some general safety rules for gas and charcoal BBQs from the Fire Service:
Yes, if it’s a private garden and if you follow safety rules carefully, you won’t have issues.
Keep an eye on the smoke levels; consistently producing lots of smoke is a nuisance, and you can run into problems with your council.
Any nuisance caused by your bonfire can lead to an ‘abatement notice’ from your council. If you don’t follow the rules, you may get a £5,000 fine.
Here are some safety measures to keep you and your loved ones safe when having a garden bonfire.
If you live near a road, you must ensure smoke doesn’t blow across and cause danger to traffic. You also can’t burn household waste as it causes pollution and harms people’s health.
We discuss ways to dispose of food waste further down.
If you’re having a bonfire in a public space like your local park or beach, then check your council’s rules.
Generally, if you’re safe and clean up your mess, they’re allowed. But you can be charged under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 if your fire threatens public or property safety.
To keep everyone safe, nominate one person responsible for lighting the fire, ensuring they wear suitable, low-flammable clothing like wool. Make sure that person knows how to deal with burning themselves or if their clothing catches fire.
Once finished, thoroughly extinguish the fire by covering it with soil or dousing it with water. Remember – a smouldering fire can light again.
There are no laws for this but follow common decency.
Most people expect to see a bonfire at dusk. It shouldn’t finish too late. The light and smoke can prevent your neighbours from sleeping and is technically a nuisance.
No law outlines when to light bonfires. However, avoid igniting them if the weather is hot and dry.
Lighting a bonfire in the summertime may count as endangering life which could land you in trouble with the local authorities. It also means you aren’t following bonfire safety rules.
Fire services across the UK experienced surges in the number of callouts to bonfires that got out of hand. Our Home Insurance team dealt with a 29% increase in fire claims related to barbecues, firepits, bonfires and the burning of garden waste compared to the same time period in the previous year.
David Fowkes, Head of Household Underwriting at Admiral, said: “It’s not just barbecues and firepits gone wrong that have caused this spike in garden fire claims, but also the burning of garden waste or rubbish. While this may be the tempting option to quickly dispose of things, it’s all too easy for the wrong items to end up on the fire which can cause plumes of acrid smoke or toxic chemicals being released, and even explosions.
“Hang on to your rubbish and garden waste until you can dispose of it properly and don’t be tempted to fly tip any waste either, as not only is this illegal, but can also be hazardous to other people and wildlife as well as putting extra pressure on resources which are already stretched.
Here are some alternatives to burning your garden waste: