Advice needed on Bonfires

Can anyone give me a bit of advice, I am in northern France Mayenne district
I chat with a man that cuts my grass for me when home in the uk
Speaking with him recently he said he has been told that bonfires are now completely banned and if your caught doing one the Mairie can and will issue you with a fine, even police can get involved.
I was previously told there was time limited april-oct to reduce risk of fires, which I get, but a total ban?
Question is, it it true, because if it is I have a lot of branches I need to somehow get rid of, which I will but it will involve a lot of time
I did wonder, if a straight ‘open fire bonfire’ is banned, would I be allowed to use a closed garden incinerator, which can be used to control the fire?

Hi Graham…

You will probably find the ruling about bonfires… is posted in your Mairie. If you cannot see it… ask the question… the Mairie folk are there to help.:blush:

Hi Graham,
I suggest you check with your Mairie. In my area, you are not allowed to burn any garden cuttings. You need to take them to the déchetterie…there should be one locally to you.

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The Mairies make their own rules so it depends where you live. In my village in the Tarn bonfires are banned. As Stella says you will have to check with the Mairie. Usually there will be a notice board for this type of information.

They’re banned around here (N. Dordogne) -not that you’d know as every French person seems to have one going!

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I try to plead ignorance and have a smallish bonfire once a year late in the evening.

I may see about getting a trailer to take the garden cuttings to the dechetterie.

Hi Matt… I do understand the difficulties folk may have getting rid of their green rubbish… I give our neighbour our green stuff for compost/mulch…he gives me fruit and veg when he has a glut.

We take as little green as possible to the Dechetterie, ever since I found out that they had to pay someone to take it away…(I had thought they would be selling it, silly me)

We fill in a form at our local Mairie - there is never any problem with permission.

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I don’t know why they don’t compost it themselves and sell it on. Bound to be cheaper than the sacks you can buy at garden centers.

I heartily agree… but… who knows.

As it happens there is an artisanal enterprise newly started not far from us. Folk arrange collection of their garden stuff (after checks that all is bio)… and the enterprise turns it into compost, available for their “clients” for free … and for sale to all other customers…seems to be working well. :smile:

What a brilliant idea!

Hello, if you have lots of branches to get rid of i’m sure there will be people in the village quite happy to collect them from you for their fireplace etc. It might be worth displaying a note somewhere strategic so that people can phone you and collect? (better for a fireplace than heating up the sky with it :wink: )

Thanks all, looks like trip to mairie, don’t have trailer and as being of Yorkshire blood paying for removal would make me sweat, nearly as much as the bonfire !
I may be able to get hold of a shredder which will then allow me to mulch.

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There is a system in place that permits the burning of dry rubbish (not green leaves) outside the summer months.
You fill in a form saying what, where and when. (It’s on our council’s website, for example)
You need to print of a map from the cadastre website showing where the fire will be, agree you won’t leave it unattended, and ensure there’s a hose in case of problems.
Of course everyone just burns their stuff as they’ve always done, but that doesn’t mean that you will get away with it.
In all honesty, lots of mayors have to learn on the job, and don’t know all the rules. The secretary is the one to ask, she is usually a professional.


I’ve found a gardener with a serious “broyeur” (mulching machine). I’m told the small electric ones are useless. We used to be able to burn branches etc at certain times of year but I think that is now restricted to professionals (registered farmers, vignerons etc). As the others say, take everything down to the local dechetterie, that would be the cheapest solution in the long run, if you don’t require the mulch (as I do).

They’ve been banned nationally for a while now, but as often happens in France, all that’s happened in a lot of areas is that they now stick to the previous set of rules which they used to break before this new one came out :slight_smile:

Unless you’re a farmer/forester with special permission, all green rubbish is supposed to go to the decheterrie.

Yes, you can still burn rubbish in an incinerator or fire pit.

Could you possibly list the number or title of the form. I also read something on the internet that said certain fires were allowed but the secretary said not. I have a load of cut branches that are no good for firewood and just need clearing. I have no way of getting them to the tip. I had no choice in the matter - this was branches cut by EDF and left in situ (both trees from my land and not actually - it was just easier for them to lob it all on mine). My argument is that it is actually a fire hazard left as it is. If there was a specific form I could download and fill out that might help at the Mairie. Thanks.

Our council website has the form available for download, and you can also
download the arrêtés préfectorales laying down the rules.
(It’s me that does the website, so I know what’s there)
Here’s the link:
In the left-hand column (or the first section if you’re using a phone)
you’ll find the heading : Feux en plein air: Arrété Préfectoral Permanent

Underneath you’ll find the articles you need.

Just to be safe I’ve attached the PDF.
The bylaw is several years old, but I’m not aware of it being superseded.
Good luck,

AP_permanent_feux_2012_05_juillet_2012_cle5a7ab5 10.pdf (59.1 KB)

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Only relates to green rubbish, we trim in the autumn, burn the branches in the following spring. Some dechetteries compost , some send the stuff to a company that composts it. With leaves, we rake them all up and spread them all over the veggie garden, rake off what’s left in the following spring then plant the veggies.

Are you sure about that? Everything I have read seems to just specify “dechets vegetaux” and there is no exception stated re waiting for it to no longer be green.