Burning our rubbish in our gardens is a traditional way of clearing plant and household waste, any time of year. If you live in an urban area, it is best to be mindful of your neighbours and how the smoke or even flames may harm their homes. Many of us, have believed the urban myth of having to wait until after 6.00pm before lighting, but there are no time rules to say when you can and can’t light bonfires on your property.
Legally, there are no specific rules on lighting bonfires, but the Environmental Protection Act 1990 does make it an offence to burn plastic, rubber or painted materials, as this will create poisonous fumes that can have a damaging effect on your health and that of your neighbours’.
Under the Highways Act 1980 anyone who lights a fire and then allows the smoke to blow across a public highway could be liable for an offence, if the smoke affects visibility on the highway and endangers the safety of traffic. So think about the wind direction before lighting.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your neighbours still remain your friends…
You should not attempt to light a bonfire when it’s a windy day, as wind will blow the smoke further.
Notify your neighbours in advance, if you are going to light a bonfire – they can remove their washing and close their windows.
Make sure that you have the means to control the bonfire flames - clear around the bonfire area and also have a garden hose ready to go or buckets of water, just in case.
We recommend that you do not leave a bonfire unattended for long periods of time.
Make sure that there are no animals that may be harmed by the bonfire such as hedgehogs and keep your dog or cat or other pets indoors.
Do not be tempted to throw petrol or Kerosene on the bonfire as this may cause flame flashbacks and harmful black smoke.
Burn small amount of rubbish at a time and avoid burning painted materials, rubber and plastics.
Don’t include any wet or green materials on your bonfire as that will just cause excess smoke.
All you need to get your bonfire going with no fuss at all, is to use Zip™ block or individually wrapped firestarters, just 3 or 4 cubes will easily light your fire in a safe and controlled manner. All that is left to do us stand back with a cup of tea and watch your waste turn to ash. Great for digging back into the garden!
Now you’ve read our very best bonfire advice, we would love to hear any ‘pearls of wisdom’ that you might have. Share your very own Bonfire top tips on our Facebook page, tweet us or
Cooking over a campfire can be a really fun experience that feeds into our primal caveman nature. Make sure you enjoy a successful outdoor experience by following a few simple rules when it comes to building and lighting your campfire.
Prepare your site
Pick a location for your fire that is at least 16 ft away from bushes, flammable materials, or overhanging branches.
Make sure your fire is built downwind from your tent.
Use large rocks to make a round or U-shaped perimeter.
If it is windy, make sure that the back of the fire pit faces the wind so the wind carries any smoke to the back of the fire.
Make a chimney out of a large rock or several smaller rocks at the back of the fire pit to help direct smoke up and away.
Fill your chosen fire area with paper or tinder and a couple of Zip™ fire starter blocks.
Lay kindling over the paper, alternating the orientation of the wood for each layer to create a lattice pattern. Some campers prefer to make a teepee shape.
Remember to light the fire starters with long safety matches, and keep a bucket of water or sand/dirt nearby to smother any unwanted flames.
Once the kindling is fully lit, add firewood. Try to find wood that is similar in size.
Use hardwood when available, as it burns more slowly and reduces spitting.
When the flames have begun to die down, use a large, strong stick to push the cinders into a high concentration at the back of the fire and a lower concentration at the front. This gives you the option of high, medium, or low cooking temperatures.
To begin cooking, set the grill on the rocks. Place your food directly on the grill or in a pan and cook your meal in a truly authentic style.
When you're finished cooking, add wood for the evening campfire, sit back and enjoy relaxing in the great outdoors while keeping warm.
Extinguish the fire completely with water before turning in for the night.
Now that you’ve read our campfire advice, we would love to hear your campfire pearls of wisdom. Share your very own tips for the perfect campfire on our Facebook page, tweet us, or send us an email and we will upload our favorites to this page!
When lighting your fire, place your fire starter on a bed of cinders or the coals in your grill.
Be sure to use long safety matches, striking the match away from you before carefully lighting your fire.
Avoid hazards – do not use fire starters on a warm/hot grate and do not light firestarters in your hand.
Prevent a chimney fire by making sure your chimney is cleaned regularly. We recommend you have your chimney professionally cleaned twice a year: once at the beginning of the winter season and again at the end.
Store fire starters far away from your fire, preferably in a separate room or shed to prevent accidents.
Once your fire is lit, make sure you use a fire screen. Keep in mind that sparks can sometimes penetrate fire screens. Do not leave a burning fire unattended, especially when children and pets are nearby. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Not only are we passionate about lighting fires we really want to share our love and enthusiasm for all things fire.Especially about which woods will make your fire hot and toasty and those which, quite frankly, are a bit of a damp squib.
Why use wood
Wood is a natural and sustainable choice of fuel for domestic fires and has been in use since the first fire many millennia ago. When we warm our homes with wood, we participate in a natural cycle that we share with our ancient ancestors. Wood fuelled the open fires of the hunter-gatherers, the brick ovens of the first bakers, and, until the 19th century, all our homes.
Today, we still love to sit in front of a fire and coming in from the cold naturally draws us to the fire. We all know that feeling of returning home after a busy day out, to a cold chilly house and really wanting a warm and cosy fire as quickly as possible.
Knowing which wood to use will help you achieve a speedy, toasty house leaving you more time to relax and enjoy your well-earned rest at the end of a busy day. Whether it is gazing into the magical flames or unwinding with a glass of your favorite wine, enjoy your fire with Zip™ firestarters and the right wood:
Woods for instant, great warming heat:
Ash: Reckoned by many to be the best wood for burning. It can be burnt green but burns best when dry and seasoned.
Birch: Good heat and burns quickly. Smell is pleasant, but it can cause gum deposits in the chimney if used a lot.
Cedar: Great heat, small flame, a nice scent, and lots of crackle and pop. Cedar is a great splitting wood and good for cooking.
Eucalyptus: A fast burning wood with a pleasant smell and no spitting. It is full of sap and oils when fresh and can start a chimney fire if burned unseasoned. May not be the best for cooking with.
Larch: Crackly, scented, and fairly good for heat. It needs to be seasoned well and forms oily soot in chimneys.
Plum: A good burning wood with good heat output.
Rowan: Is a good burning wood that has a slow burn with a good heat output.
Thorn: Is one of the best woods for burning. It produces a steady flame and very good heat output with very little smoke.
Beech, hickory, hard maple, pecan, and dogwood are also excellent sources of woods which produce high amounts of heat, are easy to burn and produce few sparks and little smoke.
Woods for a warm, slow burn:
Apple: This is a good fuel that has a slow and steady burn when dry. Sparking and spitting is also at a minimum and it has a nice scent. This fuel is great for cooking.
Cherry: A slow to burn wood that produces a good heat output. Needs to be seasoned well.
Hawthorn: Is a good traditional firewood that has a slow burn with good heat output.
Laurel: Produces a very bright flame but only reasonable heat output. It needs to be well seasoned.
Oak: Oak has a light flame and the smoke is pungent if not seasoned for two years after winter felling. Summer felled Oak takes years to season well. Dry old oak is excellent for heat, burning slowly and steadily.
Not good wood:
Alder: Poor heat output and quick burning makes this a low quality firewood.
Chestnut: A poor burning wood with poor heat output.
Elder: Burns quickly without much heat output and has thick smoke. Probably best avoided.
Laburnum: A very smoky wood with a poor burn. Do not use.
Pine species generally: (Including the dreaded Leylandii) Burns with an impressive flame, but liable to spit. Needs to be seasoned well and is another one that can leave an oily soot in the chimney. Pines smell great and the high resin content makes it good for kindling.
Aspen, basswood, cottonwood, chestnut, yellow poplar and spruce produce relative low amounts of heat and whilst easy to burn also pop, throw out sparks and produce a fair amount of smoke. They are most suitable for use as kindling.
If you have further advice on which woods to use, we would love to hear it! You can tweet us, share on our Facebook page or email.
Briquettes are very easy to purchase and are found in local supermarkets, gas stations, and DIY retailers. They are produced from the smaller pieces of wood or dust left over in the furnace once the lump wood has been removed, which are then compressed into a briquette using a binding agent. They are denser than lump wood and take more time to light, but burn longer and hotter. Many brands may contain wood by-products, combined with additives, starches and sometimes waste material, which sometimes give off a chemical smell. Zip™ briquettes are 100% natural and contain only wood, making them cleaner burning and producing great tasting food.
Zip™ 100% Natural Hardwood Briquettes
Burns hotter for longer
Does not smell or flavor food
100% natural wood - no added starch or binders
Easy to clean up
Every grill master has their own individual way of cooking their outdoor food, and we expect this debate to continue for many years to come. Rest assured that both Zip™’s Lump and Briquette charcoals are of the highest quality, producing fabulous tasting outdoor food for families around the world.
If you have any of your own top tips for Briquettes then we would love to hear them! Please share to our Facebook page, tweet us or send us an email.
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