When it comes to bonfires, it's important to prioritise safety. There are several precautions that should be taken to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Our advice is to always attend an organised bonfire and firework display. If you do have a bonfire at home, make sure you:
- keep your bonfire well away from buildings, vehicles, and trees/hedges
- never drink alcohol when tending to a bonfire and don't let smoke become a public nuisance
- only use untreated wood and paper and never include a pressurised container
- it should go without saying, but never throw fireworks onto bonfires
- never use flammable liquids to ignite a bonfire
- always supervise your bonfire and fully extinguish it once done
Any bonfire failing to satisfy safety conditions or where people are behaving irresponsibly may be deemed dangerous and as such, subject to being either removed, extinguished or otherwise made safe.
Visit the Health and Safety Executive website for information on organising firework displays.
Bonfires and the law
- It is an offence, under Section 56 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982, for any person to lay or light a fire in a public place so as to endanger any other person or give them reasonable cause for alarm or annoyance or so as to endanger any property.
- It is illegal for anyone under 18 years of age to possess fireworks.
- Throwing fireworks or setting them off in a public place (anywhere other than your own garden) is illegal.
- It is illegal for the general public to use fireworks before 6pm or after 11pm. This extends to midnight on 5 November and 1am on Hogmanay, Chinese New Year and Diwali.
- It is illegal for adults to buy or supply fireworks to anyone under the age of 18, with the exception of F1 fireworks. Examples of F1 fireworks include party poppers, novelty crackers and certain sparklers. The category of firework is legally required to be displayed on product packaging.
Fly-tipping and deliberate fires
Fly-tipping is a common cause of deliberate fires during the Bonfire Season.
You can report fly-tipping to your local authority to arrange for it to be collected.
Deliberate fire-setting can be reported to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.
All calls are anonymous and you'll not be asked to provide evidence in court.