The spookiness of Halloween has disappeared for another year. Next on the block is Bonfire Night (or Guy Fawkes night) before we then freefall towards the Christmas countdown.
Bonfire Night this year falls on a Saturday, which is perfect for Guy Fawkes parties long into the night. But before you get too carried away with the finer details of your party, it’s important to remember a few points.
The History of Bonfire Night
Known as Guy Fawkes Night (or Day!), Fireworks Night or Bonfire Night is observed on 5th November each year. It all started on 5th November 1606, when Guy Fawkes was arrested while guarding explosives plotters had placed below The House of Lords in order to kill King James I and his parliament. Celebrating that the King did survive fireworks and fire took place all over London. and eventually across the UK
Bonfires are fun but really polluting.
We don’t mean to be a party pooper but it’s something to be aware of. Burning on an open fire is not good for the environment. Especially so when you will, more likely than not, be burning unseasoned wet (well, in this weather probably VERY wet wood!). This will cause lots of smoke. Also, bonfires tend to attract any form of rubbish, with people often throwing on litter, polystyrene cups and much more. Avoid burning garden rubbish and never burn wood-based furniture. The paint and preservatives can cause toxic smoke.
You can still exercise environmental awareness when lighting a bonfire. Try and only burn dry wood, and avoid throwing non-wood waste on it. While it’s only a once-a-year event, with many tens of thousands of fires all being lit on the same evening, there can be a significant threat to local air quality.
It’s not just the environmental impact to consider. You should also look for sleeping animals who may have taken shelter under the wood. Do this check well before the fire is started. You should also keep flammable liquids well away from the bonfire, ideally in a place which can’t be accessed – such as a locked shed. This is especially so if the bonfire is going to be open to many people. You often find one or two individuals who think it would be ‘fun’ to throw petrol onto the flames, especially if alcohol is being served and things get a little wild!
You should make sure there is a substantial boundary around the fire. Under no circumstances should anyone cross this. You should also be prepared to extinguish the bonfire if needed. A hosepipe fully reeled out and ready is a good idea, along with several buckets of full water. Being prepared beforehand will save valuable moments should an emergency arise.
Don’t forget to tell your neighbours if you’re having a bonfire. Once the bonfire celebrations are over, be sure to extinguish the embers. Don’t let them burn unsupervised.
Have fun this Bonfire Night but remember to stay safe and consider what you burn.