Fire Safety for Thatch Update

Update on Fire Safety for Thatch

If you own or live in a thatched property with a working open fire, this article with the very latest fire safety for thatch guidance will be of interest to you.

Previously we have written about the importance of having your chimney swept regularly whilst using your fire over an extended period to keep your thatch safe.

In today’s article we summarise the key findings from recent research into thatch fires, and the updated thatch safety guidance from the Thatch Advice Centre in the light of these findings.

The Burgoynes Forensic Investigation of 148 thatch fires between December 2008 and May 2016, and research by The Fire Protection Association  came to the following conclusions:

Key Findings:

The main proven causes of thatch fires are:

  • ejected embers from chimneys
  • chimney fires

Also it identified there is a greater risk with woodburner installations with low chimneys, with a correlation between woodburners, liners, low chimneys and dry weather conditions..

In other words having your chimney lined in accordance with building regulations isn’t sufficient on it’s own. It’s also important to reduce fire risks by maintaining the chimney and liner integrity and taking steps to avoid a chimney fire, in particular having your chimney swept every 3 months.

So how can you do this?

How to reduce the risks of a chimney fire and ejected embers:

  • take care when lighting your fire – use firelighters, not paper or card
  • burn seasoned hard wood or kiln dried wood with a maximum moisture of 20%
  • avoid using unseasoned, wet, soft or tantalised wood as they leave greater tar deposits, increasing the chimney fire hazard
  • have your chimney swept regularly, both at the start and during the burning season
  • keep an eye on the fuel and chimney temperature. If it is too high this speeds up flue gases and increases the risk of ejecting burning material. If it is too low this increases soot and tar in the flue and the potential for a chimney fire
  • spark arrestors aren’t recommended/remove spark arrestor

A further consideration is the greater the chimney height the higher the dispersal of any embers away from the thatch, hence the 1800mm off the thatch being so important.

To view the full guidance from the Thatch Advice Centre have a read of their leaflet ‘Fire Safety for Thatch’.

At Camelot Real Fires we specialise in designing and making open fires for thatched properties.

We are committed to the prevention of thatch fires as well as providing solutions to the hazards associated with open fires.

Our Thermovent open fires offers a simple solution to reducing the risk of a fire whilst at the same time being sympathetic to the style of your property and offering competitive performance to a stove.

Open fires are recommended by the National Society of Master Thatchers and by HETAS, and are viewed as low risk by leading thatch specialist insurers such as NFU and Weslyan.

From a technical point of view, lining the chimney with a rigid flue ensures the correct distance for the thatch from the heat and smoke inside the chimney required by building regulations. Our Thermovent can run on the absolute minimum permitted diameter flue (200mm) thus being compliant with building regulations whilst still delivering good efficiency and heat output.

If you are looking for a beautiful open fire for your thatched property and would like the reassurance of our expertise, get in touch with Paul Shaw of Camelot Real Fires on 01905  820181, or email your enquiry to