Bonfires in France

Hi all i have some land to clear so will end up with a load of hay/straw can i burn it? i do have neighbour’s, I’m in Pays de la Loire region

Short answer definitely not.

Longer answer probably not, but it really depends on the lie of the land in your village/town/hamlet/commune whatever. Some places have specific rules so a trip to your Mairie is probably a good first step, but generally I understood it was very much a no these days and there are fines if caught burning unless (I think) you’re a registered farmer and the land is designated agricultural, but some people do turn a blind eye. Personally I wouldn’t risk it unless you can be 99% sure you’ll get away with it, either because you’re in the middle of nowhere and have no neighbours, or you’re in the middle of nowhere and your neighbours are pyromaniacs who spend all day having bonfires themselves.

But I’m sure others will chime in with their own experiences which may prove me to be completely wrong, I usually am :see_no_evil:


Thanks, your probably right i will have to make a rather large compost heap

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You’re clearing the land… fair enough
but it seems a waste to be considering burning the Hay/Straw …

Your Mairie will set you straight on the paperwork and regulations in force.
Bonfires are being more and more strictly controlled to protect wildlife and reduce air-pollution (amongst other things… )
and I’m sure you’ve seen the devastation this year where fires have got out of control.

Incidentally, Hay/Straw is a sought after commodity where I live…
I would imagine there are people with horses/livestock/whatever… in your area of France… why not ask around.

Composting is one good idea… if you really can’t sell it or give it away.

Thinking about it… I’ve seen where the trees (fruit?) …or whatever… have been given a thick winter mulch of stuff to protect from frost… Any growers around you???

Even farmers get fined if they do it incorrectly! Our new farmer seems to think the Jura is the Oise and was cutting and burning everything in sight - until he was shopped to the authorities by local environmental group.

You can usually get a derogation from your Mairie, but if you have big heaps of hay/straw don’t cook hedgehogs ! Fork everything over before you burn…

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You have to be very careful with the hay you give to horses or straw for bedding.
If it has mould in it it can cause very serious health problems and even fatalaties.


absolutely… but he’s not mentioned emptying barns, but clearing land… and this makes me wonder if this is fresh…

Exactly! Hay making is a bit of an art and it’s more complicated than just clearing the land and chucking the cuttings at a passing horse owner !


:rofl: :rofl: of course it is… :rofl: :rofl:

but he says

around here, it is sometimes possible to get help clearing the land… and “the clearer” takes the product…

just throwing some ideas into the mix… :+1: almost anything is better than burning…

I’d vote for compost! You’ll be so pleased to have a nice big pile!

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Don’t talk to me about piles………


Actually pretty spot on, in my experience.

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If it’s actual hay-makeable grass standing in a field you can sell it to a farmer and they come and cut it. Can fetch serious prices depending on the year and availability of other foodstuffs. If it’s real hay ie grass and not inedible weeds, wood and other stuff mixed in, I can imagine you would be quite popular if you offered to the right farmer to come and get it.

However we’ve pretty much lost the weather for drying hay thoroughly and so being a bit wet, they would have to make silage (insulidge) out of it and still cut it pretty quickly before we really lose the weather. I haven’t seen anything that looked like a silage pile round here but I hope French farmers use it alongside hay for winter feed as it’s natural (it’s basically a fermented sort of product), and very nutritious and balancing.

(Kiwi farmers daughter)


Yep… as I suggested, sell it or give it … talk with the locals and find out what’s what.
To think of burning without (possibly) making good use of the product… does seem a shame.

Around here they might either buy it or take it as their “fee”… it all depends on the size and difficulty of the plot… someone generally drops by to take a look and discuss …

As I say, we don’t know all the details…

Incidentally, silage is used locally for the cattle. No idea in his department…

Wow! Yet again Stella your insight on almost every subject never fails to amaze me! :slight_smile:

:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: I know you’re only teasing :rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

20+ years of being thoroughly involved in my commune and surrounding areas… has given me a really mixed bag of info rolling around in my head… which I try to make sense of.

And there’s always something new to learn… and that’s what makes life so interesting.

Isn’t silage the result of ensilage, ie rolling up the hay in plastic bales to allow it to ferment a bit? Otherwise it’s stays hay. Here the farmers aren’t allowed to feed silage to cows who produce milk for comté, it has to be flower rich hay. And there are hay inspectors.

My other useless fact about silage is that as well as white and black plastic wrapped bales you can now see bright pink and blue ones, which contribute a donation to various cancer charities - pink= breast, blue =prostate etc.


Generally dark green/black and some pale green plastic, mostly seen around here…
But, yes, bright pink bales are specially done every year for Octobre Rose… and one of the farmers always puts some outside our Mairie and Salle des Fêtes.

Not seen the blue ones yet.

I would think anything which focusses peoples thoughts on such serious subjects, must be a good idea.

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I had a bit of a laugh at one of this year’s Octobre Rose challenges…. To take a photo of you throwing your bra away while you “Clamez-le haut et fort en les libérant de votre soutien-gorge !​

Not going to happen! My breasts would not appreciate it!

Gracious… thinking of some of our locals, this could be alarming and/or hilarious… :rofl:

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