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Home Your Safety Out and About Bonfires and Barbecues

Bonfires and Barbecues

Bonfires can quickly become out of control, putting extra pressure on emergency services. They can also cause additional problems for those with respiratory illnesses.

If you wish to report a bonfire due to nuisance from smoke and you are sure that it’s not a risk to life or property please contact your Local Authority in the first instance. Read the following advice to help stay safe: 


  • Build bonfires well away from buildings, fences and trees;
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby;
  • Check that animals are not inside the bonfire before lighting;
  • Avoid building fires near roads, especially major roads or motorways;
  • Do not burn aerosols, tyres, canisters or anything containing foam or paint;
  • Do not use petrol or paraffin.


  • Make sure your barbecue is well away from sheds, fences, trees and shrubs;
  • Keep children and pets away from the cooking area;
  • Set up your barbecue on level ground;
  • If you have a gas barbecue always store gas cylinders outside;
  • Use only approved lighter fluids and only ever on cold coals;
  • Keep a bucket of water, sand, or a garden hose nearby for emergencies;
  • Be careful when cooking fatty foods, the dripping fat can cause the barbecue to flare up;
  • Don’t leave a lit barbecue unattended;
  • Don’t cook if you’re affected by alcohol or prescription drugs;
  • Don’t take a barbecue indoors – even when the flames aren’t visible, it can still give off carbon monoxide fumes, which can be deadly.