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Autumn has finally arrived in all its glory. Days in the garden are now spent tidying up, clearing away fallen leaves and old potted plants. If you are accumulating garden waste as you put your garden to bed for the winter, you may be considering lighting a bonfire. Garden bonfires should be avoided to dispose of garden waste but if you are planning a bonfire, especially for Guy Fawkes Night, you may be wondering if there are any rules and regulations you should consider.
Contrary to popular belief there are no restrictions as to the time of day or which day you can light a bonfire. But there is however legislation in place to ensure your bonfire does not contravene the Environmental Protection Act.
There are many elements to consider when lighting your bonfire and top of your list is making sure you, your family, your property and your neighbours stay safe so you can enjoy your autumnal spectacle. Here are a few top tips to ensure you enjoy the bonfire season safely.
What to burn
Make sure you burn dry waste only. Damp, wet waste will leave lingering smoke and can smoulder for a long period of time, causing annoyance to your neighbours. Never ever burn hazardous materials such as old car tyres, paint, plastic, foam or paint. These substances can be extremely dangerous.
When & where to light your bonfire
Make sure the weather conditions are suitable for lighting a bonfire. If the weather is damp and there is no wind the smoke may linger around, alternatively windy days can also be problematic by blowing into and around neighbours gardens and across roads causing disturbance. Think carefully about your bonfire location. Not only do you need to consider your neighbours but any fire can quickly get out of control if not managed properly. Make sure your site is away from windows, trees, vegetation, hedges, fences and any flammable materials.
Before lighting your bonfire, pop round and tell your neighbours. This will let your neighbours plan in advance to avoid washing being hung out and covered in smoke. If they really detest bonfires it will give them the opportunity to go out for the morning or afternoon.
Keep Animals & Children Safe
Keep any pets inside and check your bonfire before lighting to make sure no wildlife has crept into the leaves to make a home for the winter. Children should always be supervised around bonfires maintaining a safe distance. Sparks can fly out causing burns and scorches so make sure a good distance is kept away from the fire.
Be prepared. Keep a hose pipe or buckets of water handy just in case things get out of control. Never leave a bonfire unattended, fire can spread rapidly if left on its own.
Pull back your curtains, open your shutters and enjoy your bonfire safely.