Bonfires and fireworks

Bonfire safety

Bonfires can be very dangerous and can quickly spread out of control.

This information is for organisers of public events – it contains important information about your responsibilities to the public and the staff involved.


  • you must not get rid of household waste on the bonfire if it will cause pollution or harm people's health
  • you should always burn dry material as it produces less smoke – never burn treated wood, rubber, plastic, foam or paint
  • neighbours should be warned beforehand so they can take in any washing, close windows, keep pets indoors and take other necessary precautions
  • build your bonfire well clear of buildings, roads, garden sheds, fences, trees and hedges and, if possible, choose somewhere sheltered from wind to minimise the risk of the bonfire being blown out of control or of smoke restricting the vision of road users
  • check there are no cables – like telephone wires – above the bonfire
  • before you light the bonfire, make sure no small children, pets or wildlife have crawled inside
  • always keep a bucket of water or a working hosepipe nearby
  • never use flammable liquids to start a bonfire
  • never throw fireworks on a bonfire
  • never burn dangerous items such as aerosol cans, paint tins, foam furniture or batteries
  • don't leave bonfires unattended
  • a responsible adult should supervise the bonfire until it has burnt out
  • keep children and pets away from the fire
  • once the bonfire has died down, pour water on the embers to stop it reigniting