Lighting a bonfire in France

Who would have thought that lighting a bonfire in your back garden in France would be an issue? With all the rain we’ve been having, the weeds are growing at a great rate and a bonfire seems the best way to get rid of them. Also, when Autumn comes and litters the ground with beautiful, golden (and fallen) leaves, why not dispose of them in a jolly bonfire in the back garden? What a seemingly warming and cosy scene. However, it seems that there are strict rules and regulations surrounding lighting a fire in France.

What to do?

Depending on where in France you live, bonfires are generally banned between May and October and in some areas, the ban is from March to October*. To find out what the rules are in your area, it’s best to contact the Mairie or the local Pompiers. I’ve read that in some areas, you can’t have a fire unless you have the permission of the Mairie, no matter what time of year it is.

The reasons for the rules are that even the smallest fire can cause wildfires, and the burning of household waste can produce fine particle pollution.

Possibly the best answer…

It might be worth checking out your local déchetterie to see if they take green waste – it seems that without being able to have a good old burn up, this is the only option, unless of course, you put all the garden waste into the compost heap! This is all very well, but if, like us, you have acres of grass to mow, it’s too much to put in the compost heap. Mind you, I don’t relish the thought of bagging up all the grass clippings from two acres of lawn and loading up the van for the déchetterie. But I guess it’s better than finding ourselves facing a huge fine!

Editor Notes

What do you do for your garden and household waste?

*We believe that since 2011, burning green waste in one’s garden has become illegal in France

Have you fallen foul of the authorities in France? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

What is bonfire in French?

The word bonfire translates simply as ‘feu’ in French. You might also see it appear as ‘feu de camp’ if referring to a camp fire, or a bonfire on a beach.

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