Bonfire Safety Tips


Bonfires are often associated with Halloween because of traditions and customary practices of past years.

They are still practiced today, not only for Halloween, but other autumn and harvest parties as well. Before you begin planning, consider the consequences of a bonfire. Although they’re a great deal of fun, they can be tragic if not handled properly. Follow these bonfire & safety tips for a fun, safe bonfire party.

Bonfire vs Campfire

Know what type of fire you’re having. So what is a bonfire? The term "bonfire" is often used incorrectly. A bonfire is a large, controlled burning, often used for celebratory and party purposes. It provides welcome light and warmth on a chilly evening. A bonfire is not a campfire or small burning in the fire pit in your backyard. Depending on the size of your fire, you may need a burn permit from local authorities for it to be legal.

Conditions & Location

It’s crucial to maintain control of your bonfire at all times. Check the weather forecast for wind advisories and warnings on outdoor burning. Never start a fire under windy or dry conditions. Have an alternative plan just in case.

Find an open area that’s a safe distance from buildings, tents, vehicles, trees, dry grass, or stored firewood. The ground should be level and free from obstacles to prevent anyone from tripping and falling. Add a fire ring for containment and always have buckets of water or a fire extinguisher available for dousing.

Make sure that everyone keeps a safe distance from the fire and does not wear loose clothing that can catch fire. Roasting marshmallows or hot dogs in a bonfire is not recommended for obvious reasons. If that is what you want to do, have a small campfire instead.

What to Burn

Only burn dry, seasoned wood. Do not put furniture, fabrics, or any treated or painted materials into a bonfire. The fumes can be dangerous. You can use charcoal or lighter fluid to start the fire. Soak the tip of a stick or piece of wood. Do not pour fluid directly into the flames to stoke the fire. Store in a container with a lid and do not place it near the fire or it may ignite.


After the party, put the fire out completely. The easiest way to do this is with water or dirt. Then use shovels to turn over burnt materials and douse again with water or dirt. Do not leave the area until the pile is no longer smoking.