Bonfire Night FAQs
With Bonfire Night just around the corner, we answer some of your commonly asked questions to help keep your home safe this winter.
Can I have a bonfire at my rented property?
If your landlord allows you to, yes, you can.
As with all fires, make sure that it’s at a safe distance from your home. To be on the safe side, keep windows and doors shut. This reduces the risk of smoke or fire damage to the interior.
You should also bear in mind the potential damage a fire could cause to the garden. Your tenancy agreement is likely to state that you must leave the property in the way you found it, meaning you may have to pay to put any damage right.
If you’re having people over (subject to coronavirus measures), make sure you have Contents Insurance that covers your landlord’s fixtures and fittings. For instance, if one of your guests accidentally spills red wine onto the carpet, your insurance should cover the cost of cleaning or replacing it.
What can I burn on my bonfire?
Stick to dry, untreated wood (i.e. natural wood with no chemical coatings). Don’t use an ignition fluid, such as petrol or paraffin. It can cause the fire to burn out of control. It’s better to let the fire take naturally.
Don’t burn plastic, rubber or rubbish. These can emit hazardous chemicals when ignited. And don’t be tempted to put aerosol cans on the fire either, because these can explode when heated.
Green wood (i.e. new garden cuttings and unseasoned wood) should also be avoided because they can generate large amounts of smoke when ignited.
- Check the wind direction before you light your bonfire to ensure that embers are not blown towards your own, or your neighbours’, property.
- Keep a hose or bucket of water nearby to extinguish the fire.
- Never leave a burning fire unattended. A sudden gust of wind could be enough to reignite even the smallest of embers.
What happens if I damage a neighbour’s property?
You are likely to be liable for the cost of repair. For instance, if an ember ignites their fence or shed you will have to foot the bill to replace it.
If you are planning a bonfire, mention it to your neighbours as a courtesy, so they know your plans.
When can I let off fireworks?
There are restrictions in the UK.
You cannot set off fireworks between 11pm and 7am for most of the year.
However, you have until midnight on 5th November and 1am on New Years Eve, Diwali and Chinese New Year.
Failure to comply with restrictions may result in a visit from the police and an anti-social behaviour notice.
Be sure to check your local council website for rules specific to your area.
I own a thatched property. Is there anything I can do to protect my home?
As you know, fire is one of the biggest threats to thatched property.
If you’re having a bonfire or letting off fireworks, put as much distance between the fire and your home as possible, so embers don’t drift towards your roof and catch light.
It’s also important to check the wording of your insurance policy to make sure you have cover for fire damage and fireworks. Even if you’re not celebrating Guy Fawkes’ Night, your neighbours might. If you have concerns, be sure to check in with your neighbours, the local residents’ association and pubs to find out what they’re planning – and remind them to check the wind direction on the night of their celebration.
If you’re unsure what your policy covers, give your broker a call to confirm the wording.
Any other tips?
Be aware of burglars on Bonfire Night. It’s an opportunist thief’s dream; doors and windows are left open while families head outside to watch the sky. Make sure you lock up before leaving your home unattended.
Please note: This article is intended for general guidance only.
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