Garden fires

Does anyone know when it is legal to light a garden fire in Civray.I can`t find any help on Google.

regards Bill

I was told it was illegal but there are still people burning stuff in our village on a regular basis including the ex-Mayor.

As for taking it to the tip, that would be great but our local tip which is open for a few hours 2 days a week is closing at the end of the year. We will then have a 20 km round trip to the nearest one OR we can wait for the quarterly mobile tip that will be started.

When I first moved to the Cambridgeshire village I lived in for a few months over 30 years, I almost immediately took a double allotment on. One of the allotmenters explained that fires lit just before it started to rain or during a light shower would not smoke. He was one of those old fellows I assumed was about 80 when I arrived there but that is how he remained for 20 plus years until one day I spied a funeral procession from my kitchen window that looked out into the graveyard and into the church porch. The church warden's assistant said somebody, he who did the gardening but I never saw go to church. He who had fires on his allotment, in his garden, in the graveyard and probably has one in the hereafter. Anyway, back to the point. he said that rain stops a fire smoking.

In the village we had a retired fireman. He eventually persuaded a couple of us to go to a community fire and rescue course. One of the things we learned about was the number of call outs to uncontrollable bonfires whilst it is raining. There is apparently a firm belief in the fact that if it rains a fire burns better and without smoke or fumes. The trainer explained that back out of our naive little world. The other person who went on the course and I had both been convinced by the old fellow. Now we thought back on it and considered the fact that he had burned more than one mattress, several old tyres and was not past putting things like old car batteries in a bonfire. They usually smoked like billy-oh. In fact we worked out that when he lit his fire and rain was due or just starting he went straight away home. A good measure of petrol, a piece of burning newspaper thrown in and off he went. Vooomph! He simply never saw the smoke billowing, usually black or dark grey to begin with, eventually light grey and smouldering for days because of the amount of plastics, metals and who knows what in the fire. We had naively thought he had smoke because of his detritus. But then we realised that both of us usually lit ours respective bonfires then high tailed it to avoid a soaking!

As the fire officer explained. Unless it is a deluge of almost biblical proportions, a fire set with a large dose of petrol will burn anyway, with certain other things in it will flare up with the slightest breeze and once the heart of a fire is hot, no rain will usually penetrate because it will evaporate almost immediately on contact. With regard to smoke, he pointed out that rain usually comes with air movement that is sufficient to disperse the smoke but there is never none.

Anyway, it appears the same folklore applies here as in the UK. Just take a closer look. Is the person saying there is no smoke if it rains still out at the fire during the precipitation? I bet most of the people who say so scuttle off home before they ever get to see any smoke.

My French neighbour taught me that fires should normally only be started when it is about to rain. The technique requires a bit of oil or something similar to get it started. Once it's underway it will burn even in the rain but without sparks. We never start a fire in the hotter or drier months for obvious reasons. I believe there are bans at certain times of year and the local Mairie should have details.

@Bill - I'm near Civray too.

Hit the nail on square on the head Debra.

You bet he does...

Good luck! We live next door to our Maire and I think he is a b***** pyromaniac as he has garden fires at least once a month including this last Saturday which meant closing all our doors and windows. Our neighbours on the oter side had organised a garden lunch (not a barbecue) and we could see them hunched own wiith their guests in a blue haz.e!

He is a nice guy and we get on well, but he just has a blind spot in this area.

Our garden rubbish goes off to the dechetterie, as does all the rubbish generally.

I am obviously the lucky one - I get treated to an alcohol laden fumble at our decheterie which isa great excuse to send OH. We have used and abused our dechet. Especially when we were trying to clear the cr.p left by the previous gite owners - including a pool liner.

Must admit we used to burn the huge amount of prunings that the gites produced every year. However I once watched a fire ressucitate itself several days after it was supposedly quenched.

So that is why the local gardener pees us all off - burning on farmland right next to the houses. I was told that he charges the waste disposal charge 7euros per m3. This obviously upsets the other gardeners who will rent clients a skip and dump all at the tip.

I am wondering how many of you live in a village or town where you are expected to take the waste to your local déchèterie? The answer will almost always come out differently according to somebody living in an absolutely rural area with 'no near neighbours', which is to say without people living cheek by jowl or absolutely urban in which case it is banned full stop. There is also enormous ambiguity given that different departments and even districts within them have entirely different regulations.

This subject was actually brought up this very morning at the local cafe a friend had a garden fire the other day withing half an hour she had a knock at the door guy from the marie telling her no fires total ban but then added light it at night all the windows and shutters will be closed so no one will see.

The reason the subject was brought up was because i mentioned to the group my neighbour set fire to her hedge on Saturday burning garden rubbish luckily i was aware of it and got the hose to it, this woman recently moved from Marseilles has complained about the noise from my dogs barking the goats bleating the chickens and the cockerel though she has her windows open all day and the radio full blast

The problem with taking all garden waste to the dechetterie (other than what can be used as compost/mulch) is that infections, which are already numerous (chestnut trees, lavender etc) will get worse and worse. In an ideal world we should all shred garden waste ourselves, but a shredder big enough to do the job is very large and expensive.
So… we shall all probably have the odd bonfire … And it’s about to rain in the Var and gosh we have a huge pile of green stuff out there.


No garden fires are allowed. The mairie will be able to tell you if and when it is legal to start a barbecue fire!

I put a thread about this here, a wek or so ago. The answers are varied...

I assume that a bonfire for guy Fawkes night is out?

why would you burn leaves anyway when they make such wonderful mulch?

Here in Vendee there has been a lot of confusion, as Super U, Gamme Vert and Bricomarche have been selling incineraters. I telephoned the Mairie and was told that ANY burning of green garden waste is forbidden, in spite of the various centres selling the incinerators. So.... I put a question ( in French) into the Conseil General at La Roche sur Yon, and DEFINITELY NO for our region, including burning in an incinerator.

I realise that now there will be a lot of fly tipping of garden waste in the forests.

That said - we all know that some of the French choose to ignore the regulations, and I have seen many French people burning their garden waste in broad daylight. For me I feel the risk is not worth it, and I do not have a spare 1,000 euros to pay the fine if caught.

Stuart, we had a regional ban during 2011 when it was very dry and hot, extended through 2012 and into last year. Nobody, not farmers, tree fellers and so on could have fires until after September 2012 and even then there are restrictions. No fires are allowed from the end of May until the end of September here. Now that period is over and everybody is burning. Pass the mayor's farm and there is a large one smouldering, in his garden another. I was shocked to see how many there are smouldering in some of the forest areas where they cut this summer, must have been burning this week. It seems insane given how much detritus that woud burn is still on the ground and this last couple of weeks has been very dry. The hunt decided the smell was so strong there would be absolutely no deer around, so we went to another part of the forest. Illegal as it may be, people still burn stuff as you say Debra. Some of the stuff like old tyres, mattresses and other obnoxious fume producing rubbish is met with an apparent blind eye. What is also shocking is how much material that composts nicely is burned. Do people not know that most cardboard boxes, a lot of real paper and things like tissues and kitchen paper break down - OK, they have the terribly hard task of getting off sticky tape and plastic labels off the boxes which takes all of two minutes out of their lives. All we burn is clippings and prunings, plus any 'infected' wood that the dump will even refuse to take if they spot it. But, as said, we classify as having agricultural land and can do it.

Garden fires are illegal all year round, it is not up to the Marie.

The only people who can burn are professional landscapers and such like. Even they can't normally burn in July and August.

I think there is nothing worse than burning soggy leaves and completely ignoring neighbours. We have a tip about 10km away and we take everything there.