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Making the best bonfire – The right fire wood

A bonfire party at this time of year can be an exciting event for everyone, young or old. Making bonfire means ensuring that you have the best fire wood amongst other things.

Choosing the Best Fire Wood
A good bonfire means knowing your wood. Choosing the best fire wood for your bonfire is not just about which tree you use. Several things can affect what sort of bonfire you have. These include things like:

• Seasoned or Unseasoned: Seasoned wood produces a hotter flame and burns far longer than unseasoned timber. It is seen as being the better choice of fire wood as it provides value for money.
• Hardwood or Softwood: Hardwood produces a lot of heat while softwood, on the other hand, burns much more fiercely and quickly. This is because softwoods contain a resin in the wood. The best use for softwood in a bonfire is to use it for kindling.
• Drying: Fire wood needs to be dry as not only will it not burn as well, it will likely produce a lot of smoke that in its own right could be a safety hazard.

When it comes to choosing firewood, the general view is that you go with a seasoned hardwood such as oak, beech and ash for example. These provide attractive flames and have lots of embers which can last a long time. Equally, there are some woods that you will want to avoid. This includes railway sleepers, chipboard or any wood treated with chemicals. Burning these types of wood could pose a risk that you end up releasing toxic fumes or other pollutants into the air.

Fire Safety
Whatever your reason for having a bonfire, what matters most is safety. That is why preparation is essential. With any bonfire, there are a number of practical steps that you can take when it comes to fire safety. These include:

• Make sure the bonfire is far enough away from trees, fences and sheds and not underneath cables like telephone wires for example.
• Make sure that you have a bucket or a hose nearby just in case.
• Before lighting the bonfire always check that nothing is hiding within it.
• Keep children and pets away from the bonfire.
• Never leave a bonfire unattended. An adult should always be present at the bonfire until it has burnt down.
• Don’t use the bonfire to dispose of items. Burning unwanted items in a bonfire can be dangerous.

The final step in staying safe is when the fire has burnt down. It is important to make sure you dampen down the area of the fire with water either from a bucket or hose. While you may think the fire is out there may still be embers that are warm and could reignite the fire.

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